152 shots in less than 5 mins.

The Hartford Courant disclosed a new piece of info this wk that we didn’t know before… That Newtown shooting… 152 shots were fired in less than 5 mins. B/c in that Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle, were multiple, extended 30-round magazines. His mother would not have been able to purchase this if, in 2004, Congress had not let the Assault Weapons Ban expire.

He wouldn’t have been able to buy a magazine with more than 10 rounds in it if the 2004 law had been renewed. So, he would have had to re-load 14 times. Lag-time where he could have been stopped. The Assault Weapons Ban also banned 30-round magazines.

He’d need to re-load over a dozen times to do what he did in 3-4 reloads, more chance for error (drop a mag, or have something jam, or stumble). If the law had been renewed, he’d still only have had access to a 10-round magazine. Not the 30-round mags that his mama was able to purchase since the law didn’t renew.

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3 guys from the Auto Industry

Yeah, I’m not gonna call them “the big 3”. To me, that seems like a self-appointed title, like Michael Jackson’s “King of Pop”. Only Michael worked tirelessly in the 80’s to build that up.

For the last 10 years, the 3 automakers in Detroit have been told to try to make more fuel-efficient cars, & they just flat out refused to.

Instead, they came out w/ the Durango, & the Durango XXL, which is actually larger than my kitchen! Yes, I know that some ppl need big trucks. You know, the construction workers, contractors, ppl who flip houses, Mormons w/ 76 kids. But not the mass public.

I have a friend who’s 5’3″. She wanted a Hummer for the longest time. Then, the Avalanche came out, & she wanted that. Not b/c she needs a big truck for any reason. She just wanted “to be wrapped in something big”, to feel the power of that. This was 5 years ago that she made that statement, & she still feels the same today!

I think it’s insane. The 3 CEOs of GM, Ford, & Daimler-Chrysler want $ from the bailout. But you know what? Why have you never even tried to be more creative about your cars & their fuel consumption?

I know Chevrolet tried, w/ the Flex-Fuel. But dude, my car gets 41 miles to the gallon. You won’t convince me to get a car that only gets 26, esp if I don’t even like the look of it.

Why this tirade? B/c here in Cleveland, one of the local dealerships has been airing commercials that tell me that if I’m pro-American, I’m gonna spend over $20,000 on an inferior product, when I can get a better one for thousands less:

Ok, so my Corolla was made in Tennessee. That’s beside the point. I don’t care if it was made in the Honduras.

The point is that I do believe in Capitalism. Say it w/ me, folks…. CAP – I – TA – LISM. If I remember right, capitalism is driven by competition. Karl Marx was my dude when I was in college, so I know he would NOT be likin the commercials these ppl are airing.

I don’t want the American Automakers to crumble. But 10 years ago, when fuel efficiency or alternative fuel was brought up to them, they had no interest in developing any “hippie cars”.

Here’s the other thing about Hummers that pisses me off. Our troops overseas don’t get the adequate protection or equipment or technology that they need, yet we’re over here buying a vehicle that was made for military duty? What?!?!

I think that if someone wants to buy a vehicle that uses up an extraordinary amount of our energy resources, they should be required to pay an energy tax. Now, if you buy such a vehicle, but have a very good reason, there would be an exemption for you. You would just claim why you need the exemption (your occupation, or that you’re a Mormon w/ dozens of children), or maybe that you use it sparingly (submit your yearly mileage).

Ok, seriously gonna stop now, cause I can feel the crow’s feet & frown lines setting in.

– 12/2004 cartoon by Dwane Powell

a call for more lazy protesting!

I think I may be supporting the wrong causes. I dragged myself out of bed this morn, & dragged myself in & outta the shower to get ready. As I got out & was getting ready, it hit me that I completely support the wrong causes in my life.

Look at John & Yoko… They supported causes that made them stay in bed ALL DAY LONG! Now, whatever type of cause wants you to rally like that, I can get behind. I could TOTALLY do that!

How come no one ever has rallies like that anymore?

I’ve mentioned here how I went to Kent State. Y’all know Kent State, right? You’ve heard of it in the song “(4 dead in) Ohio”. About when our government’s military force opened fire on their own kids. Yeah, & you wonder how I ended up so paranoid & cynical. I remember in college, we didn’t have classes on May 4th in remembrance of the Kent State shootings. There were tons of vigils, & musicians (nationally famous hippie musicians, & local hippie musicians) would come & play on Blanket Hill. We would hang out on the grass & listen to ppl sing or speak. There was this one guy on the May 4th Task Force that was also there in the shootings, & he would speak & re-tell his story every year.

But one year that clearly sticks out in my mind is the year we all spread out & laid on the entire expanse there. Hundreds of ppl came that year. Everyone met at Blanket Hill, & laid down on the hill (careful not to hurt the daffodils*), over the hill next to Taylor Hall, & partly in front of it.

Anyway, the point of this all was that I did attend a rally where ppl laid down on the grass on a temperate, beautiful sunny day surrounded by flowers, & just thought of the injustices that happen in the world. News crews were there to take pics, so the word could be spread. So, there’s proof positive that you can have a successful rally & be laying around.

I wish there were more things like that. Either that, or I need to go to bed earlier. But since I didn’t get to sleep until about 2 am last night, y’all get a big long rambling post b/c it takes me forever & a day to get to a point.

Assorted May 4th sites: official site of May 4th Task Force | may41970.com | may4.org (they have a great timeline of events) | FBI investigation | A million other links

*The pic is of Blanket Hill, the 2 granite structures are part of the May 4th memorial (they only built 7% of what was proposed), & the building in the back (that kinda reminds you of the Pantheon) is Taylor Hall. There are 58,175 daffodils planted on Blanket Hill; one for each of the US servicemen & servicewomen who died in the Vietnam conflict war. When I was in school there, I’d heard that you get fined $500 per daffodil that you picked b/c it’s technically defacing a memorial (or something like that). I never did find out if that was true, or just an urban legend; but I never did pick a single daffodil. I did pick the black-eyed susans that were in front of the Student Center all the time though.

Person of the Week: Any & all children affected by war

This is lil Fatima Jbouri, a 10-month old survivor of war. A death squad in Saydia (a war-ravaged suburb of Baghdad) raided her home, killed her mother & uncle, then left her for dead in the garbage out back. In 118 degree heat. Under a metal sheet. Her 7-yr old brother flagged down the Iraqi police, they gave her to US soldiers, & the pic you see is of her being held by US military at a combat support hospital in the green zone.

They say she most likely would never have survived in an Iraqi hospital. She has a Shi’ite name of Fatima and a Sunni name of Jbouri. Moqtada al-Sadr controls the health ministry/hospitals; he believes in the “ethnic cleansing of Sunnis”, & most likely she would have died before receiving any treatment.

Eventually, she’ll be re-united with her 5 brothers & sisters who are in an orphanage. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I mean, most orphanages (esp in some other countries) aren’t all that; if ya know what I mean. If she does go on into hiding with her Shi’ite relatives in the south, who knows what happens then. I mean, we’re still talking about her being in hiding in a hostile environment.

She was featured on World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson, Monday night. That’s when I 1st saw her. But I got to thinking about all the kids that we don’t hear of b/c they were found in the trash dead. Or just thrown around somewhere. All the kids that grow up in war-torn countries; if they’re lucky to survive. And some would prob rather not have survived all the atrocities they’d witnessed.

And I def don’t want to leave out the kids here in the States. The ones who’s mommies & daddies went off to serve us. Sure, they are told that their parents love them; even by the parents who are overseas themselves. But it’s just not the same, not having them there.

Search for stories on Fatima Jbouri.


Last night, I went to my brother’s high school commencement ceremony. It was at the Wolstein Center downtown.

Now, it was just like any other (boring) commencement ceremony. The superintendent spoke, the president of the school district, the salutatorian, the valedictorian. Fun speeches. Yea. That’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about one particular moment during the event.

The superintendent asked various groups to stand up to be recognized.
– the National Honors Society members
– those who had GPAs over 3.75
– a couple of other groups
– those who are enlisting in the military

Now, when he said the last group, about 5 kids stood up. The audience just went WILD (as well as they should’ve). But I felt my eyes tear up. I mean, it’s amazing that these kids are dedicating the next few years to serving our country. Simply amazing.

But today, I really thought about those kids. I mean, they’re kids. I knew this kid who went into the Navy. I saw him grow up (he’s a lil younger than me). He’s really close to the lady I work w/ (& share an office w/). So much so that he lived w/ her while he was in b/t residences, stored some of his stuff there when he went off to boot camp, & stays w/ her when he comes back into town. He’s a good kid. He always was (grew up in the midwest, w/ 11 brothers & sisters, small town kid); & he still is.

But he’s changed. When I knew him in his former life (as a college student, ages 20 to 23), he was ever the joke-ster. Very jovial, always laughing, ever the boy. I mean, make funny noises, do impressions, just very silly stuff. He’d walk into our office kinda like Kramer did with Jerry’s apt; throwing the door open & exclaiming something.

A couple of months ago, he came back to pick up some of his stuff that he’d left here & to visit. He’s much more subdued, mellow, reserved. He just has a serious look about him. His whole facial structure has changed. His jaw seems more square & he doesn’t have that constant goofy grin on his face. He’s matured; it seems like he’s aged into this much older man in the course of 8 months.

I was thinking about that; how the military turns children into men & women. I wonder how these new young kids will be in another 4 years.

the military, the gays, San Fran, & Milk

You know how when ppl think of San Fran, they think of the gays? The city’s got the highest concentration of homosexuals in the country (maybe the world, mu-hahahaha). Sorry, that just came out. It’s also got the highest concentration of Chinese folks outside the mother-land (being China, duh!); but that’s a story for another day. Or not, we’ll see.

So, San Fran holds the whatever-title in terms of number of gay ppls. Mama must be so proud. Well, ever wonder why? I did & I found out! So whether you wanted to know or not, I’m gonna tell you. If you didn’t want to know, you don’t have to keep reading the rest of this. But I’ll leave you w/ one thought – the military.

Intrigued? Ah, then you’re my kinda person. So, here’s how it all went down. The time was World War II. The US gov’t was discoverin all the gays in the military. The military decided they would seek out & dishonorably discharge all the gays. The San Francisco base is where most of the dismissed men were processed. So, most of them just ended up staying there & settlin; instead of returning to their homes.

I mean, have you eva been to San Fran!?! Well, have you?! It’s amazing, I’d highly recommend it. If you haven’t seen my pics from there, go into my Nov 2005 archive. I’ll put up a link to it later. Maybe. I’m pretty lazy though, remember? So, we’ll see what happens.

Wanna see more? This site has a timeline of the history of the movement in San Fran. If you want to explore gay San Fran, you’ll wanna hit up the Castro. And go here to go on a photo-tour of the Castro Neighborhood. It’s just amazing how much we share online, isn’t it? I’ve learned so much about a neighborhood so far away from me just online!

The one thing I really think you should all read about is Harvey Milk. I don’t know if you know who he is or not, but he most certainly led an interesting life. They made a documentary about him. I haven’t seen it yet so I can’t say if it’s good or not, but it’s on my “to see” list. Anyway, he settled in the Fran after being (honorably) discharged from the military, & became a city supervisor. Another city supervisor, Dan White, who was against Milk’s gay rights bill, stepped down, & returned to City Hall w/ a gun & 10 extra rounds of ammo. He went to see Mayor Moscone, & went to town on him. He reloaded, walked clear to the other side of the building to where Milk was, shot him in the chest, then point-blank in the head for good measure. White got less than 8 years in prison for these two murders.

Anyway, Harvey Milk is on Time Magazine’s top 100 ppl of the century list & they have a great write-up on him. You can also find more info on him at wikipedia, of course.

I hated history when I was in school, but now I find myself fascinated w/ the ppl & events & places of times past. So, I have decided that every time I stumble across something like this, I’ll post it here. To share w/ y’all, & so I have a ref point where I can come back to. It’ll be just like the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!

Aside: Photo of Goldengate Bridge was taken by bmdoty. I decided that I think it’s amazing how many absolutely incredible shots that we as an internet community take & are willing to share. I’m thinking of joining too; cause I do love to take pics & I like the idea of sharing them as long as you give the pic-taker the credit. I also ‘hotlinked’ the pic itself so that if you click on it above, you can see his/her stuff & even leave comments for him/her if you want. Just sharin the love!

Darfur & the ICC

Everyone is upset about the genocide & atrocities going on in the Dafur region of Sudan. It is a complete outrage. So many innocent lives lost. I know it’s a massive amount of ppl. We read individual accounts of what’s going on, & our hearts ache for them. But what you read is only an iota of the tragedy. There are countless untold stories; some of which will never be told, for the ppl who may tell them have been silenced.

To date, not a single person has been brought to justice for these war crimes & crimes against humanity. Go to the link, & fill out a letter to our US Administration to get involved w/ the International Criminal Court, so that these ppl can be brought to justice.

Amnesty International is trying to get as many letters as possible to them by July 17th, which is International Justice Day.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the best hope for justice in Sudan.

For more information, or other links, you can visit the Bloggers for Darfur website.

In other news, I also hotlinked the pic to the left, so you can just click on it to take you to the page where you can take action. Yes-this is a 1st for me, & yes-I do think I’m a complete genius & very clever. I know others have been doing it for years, but let me revel in my accomplishments, ‘kay.

remember the taliban

No, not like “remember the Alamo”. I’m asking, remember the taliban? As in the taliban that Yale admitted to a non-degree progam? Well, hotair.com has an update on it all; as does the NY Times.

At the time of my prior post, Mr. Hashemi was asking to be moved into the full-degree program* w/ a sophomore status (since he had already completed one year there). Well, now it’s been decided that he may be back for one more semester in the fall, but he will not be graduating. I know it really shouldn’t be such a big deal; but it is to me. Yes, everyone deserves an education; & I will be the 1st to give someone a second chance, & I truly believe that people can reform. I did a dissertation on the rehabilitation of prisoners in college, & most ppl can reform if endowed with w/ the ambition & the means**.

But here’s my beef w/ the situation. Yale does not allow the ROTC to train on campus, they would not allow intelligent Afghan women to study there; but they’re ok w/ this top-level Taliban official being there? I think that part is wrong. At least the Afghan women were well-qualified, & likely to succeed in a high-caliber institution; but Mr. Hashemi only completed a 4th grade education, & a high school equivalency certificate. Not only that, but I don’t believe he’s reformed, or that he regrets any of his past doings. He was doing horribly in his “Terrorism: Past, Present and Future” class, arguing the textbooks were labeling the wrong ppl as the bad guys. He said that public executions in a soccer stadium in Kabul (pic to the left) were akin to the executions that take place in Texas***. I can’t agree w/ that. Um, btw, the ppl that were executed in that very public (see the tons of ppl in the background watching) stadium were missionaries.

*This is very common for international students to be admitted into a non-degree program, & be “shifted” into the full-degree program after a year (pending grades/courses, & approval by a dean). Of course, they need to formally petition this change (either by re-applying or simply writing a letter of appeal/petition to the dean & admission committee).

**I did find exceptions (as usual). It seems that some types of criminals have a chemical imbalance in their brains that actually propels them to do what they do. However, some of those crimes are not considered deviant in other countries. We as a society have deemed their actions as deviant behavior & so we persecute them. We are either fortunate to live in a country where we are so protected; or they are unfortunate to live in such a narrow-minded society that is not willing to accept their behavior. It depends on exactly how liberal you’re willing to go. I’m not quite that open-minded & liberal.

***I really did not mean to start up a topic on capital punishment. I know that the ppl who are executed in Texas are convicted murderers & rapists. I also know that a lot of ppl who have been on death row had subsequently been found innocent (via testimonials, dna, whatev); some before they were executed, & some unfortunately after. And I know that the anesthetic injection they give to paralyze the individual before they actually inject the super-painful poison that destroys the person’s insides doesn’t always work right; & there’s evidence that the person goes through the most jarring, wrenching pain possible before they actually die, but they can’t communicate it b/c they have been paralyzed. That all being said, I’d love to hear any thoughts anyone has on this. You can leave an anonymous comment.

Yale admits just about anyone


You know how schools are always looking to diversify their student body? Well, they are. I just read that Yale enrolled a former Taliban official in to a non-degree program. That’s not even all of it. This person only had a 4th grade education!

Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a former ambassador-at-large of the Taliban, was admitted as a “special student”.

Related articles:
Opinion Journal (from the Wall Street Journal)
NY Times article
Polly Awards (handed out by CampusMagazine)
Article from Gujarat paper

remember your childhood?

These little girls:

Live here:

And it’s breaking my heart.

The above pictures were taken in Tal Afar, a northern city in Iraq. The top pic is some Iraqi girls watching the US soldiers as they patrol the town. The bottom pic is US soldiers patrolling the same area after a suicide bomb attack a few months back. I think our troops are extremely brave, & I’m not trying to comment on our occupancy there in Iraq right now. I am just feeling sad for the little girls who will grow up with this being their childhood.

Oh, and this little boy:

And this little girl:

Live there too.

Oh, & total sidenote: please, no one read this as my “maternal clock” ticking or anything like that. Cause it’s not.