Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"These are the times that try men's souls"

Thomas Paine's birthday slipped quietly by on Sunday, somehow appropriate given the vote that will take place later today in the Senate (the Alito confirmation). Borrowing from "The Writer's Almanac" entry:

"He joined with Washington's Army when the war broke out, and at nights after fighting, he worked on a collection of essays titled The American Crisis (1783). His pamphlet, Common Sense (1776), was a best seller and helped inspire the move toward a declaration of independence. At the end of the Revolution he returned to England, where he published The Rights of Man (1789), a response to anti-revolutionary sentiment there. After reading it, his friend Benjamin Franklin said, "I would advise you not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person." He was imprisoned in France in 1794, where he wrote The Age of Reason (1795). This book angered his critics further, until he was brought back to the United States in 1802 by Thomas Jefferson. Here, he received much public abuse for his writing, and he died poor and alone in 1809."

Sadly, I fear today marks the end of another revolution. Some of the main goals of the "elite" for the last 70 years have been the overturning of the social protections won by the "working class" in the labor struggles of the 30's, and through the New Deal. Having been stymied in their initial attempts, they began a long slow assault that will end with their final triumph this afternoon. To wit:

1) They couldn't control the press, so they bought it, through outright purchase or merger and acquistion. Now there are no Willam Paleys to tell Edward Murrow to go ahead, advertisers be damned. Most cities have a single daily paper struggling to even be read, there are no "crusading editors" in print or on the air in this "brave new world"...

2) They managed to take over the legislative branch through campaign contributions and lobbyists; now they can get anything they like written into law and passed; the lawmakers claim to need the lobbyists to explain it, and the reporters aren't looking...

3) At this point, you don't even need the White House to have your own way, but a rubber stamp is nice...

4) Today, with the confirmation of Alito, they have a Supreme Court that will back most anything they would care to write into law!

So a "new revolution" would seem to be ending this afternoon, without a shot being fired, no 3" banner headlines, not even enough phone calls to warrant a second thought on the part of some of the Democratic Senators, let alone the Republicans!

I truly hope I am wrong about this; I hope I am just being too cynical for my own good. Somehow I fear that there is even more to this iceburg than my cynicism is showing me, and that the rip in the hull, like the one in the Titanic's, is going to be one that sinks us all!

Good night and good luck!


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mom and Dad's Wedding photo, 1950

Introduced by Dad's "little" brother, who she went out with a few times first, they started dating in February, 1950. He was 23, she was 20. They married the first week of May, driving to Quapaw, (yes, that's a real name) Oklahoma where my Grandfather (you met two weeks ago) was assigned at the time. Grandpa performed the ceremony, they drove back to Kansas City and went back to work on Monday. They saved that first year and took their honeymoon the next, to Minnesota to go fishing. Her Mom and Dad went along...!


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tagged again! (by Ceri)

This time it's (just) 5 weird things about me! I tried this last week and only had 3, so trying not to reuse them makes it a bit hard...

1) Being a GM autoworker, you'd think I would be driving something other than a 1979 Chrysler Newport with 290,000 miles on it that I paid $800 for 7 years ago! (My wife does have a new one, our 2nd ever, and finally one of the Malibus I build.)

2) I never heard Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin until after they were both "gone"! (I'm 50, but I was a trumpet player from age 8, who grew up listening to jazz and swing.)

3) My 18th birthday present to myself was "the clap" (and a sore throat). (I landed in the Philippines 2 weeks before that, courtesy of the Navy, at 17 and almost a virgin...)

4) Ceri's 4 was things she can't live without; for me (besides the obvious things) it would be something to read; a book, a magazine, something!

5) I, too, like Ceri, am happier the less I have on when I'm running around the house! I pay the consequences with my winter heating bill!

Now that you're all completely weirded out...since I just tagged people last week, I can't bring myself to do it again; if someone feels like listiing some of their own, let me know, I feel a bit exposed at the moment!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm telling you stories...

6:15pm, Saturday. My wife is in the shower, having just gotten home from work. The potatoes are half-done baking, the salmon is thawed, 40 oz. of mushrooms are ready for the skillets, my son and his wife are on their way from Lawrence for dinner, and I'm mixing the Italian marinade for the salmon while the grill heats.

"thump Bang-CLANG!!!"

"Honey, are you all right?"

"No" was her reply. Since she had a hip replaced at 47 from arthritis, falls are worrisome. Drop everything, run to the bathroom and find her holding the tub spout, standing outside the tub. She's OK...

The tub spout is sheared off cleanly, right at the wall.

"How in the world did you do that?"

"The Tilex slipped as I put it back on the shelf."

When I redid the plumbing 12 or 15 years ago, I used plastic instead of the original galvanized. Easier to work, not supposed to calcify and clog up like metal...I never thought you could snap it clean off the wall. Of course, since the kitchen got redone after the bathroom, I lost my access to the other side of that wall when the new cabinets went in...

Finish cooking dinner, eat, and leave the kids watching "Stargate: Atlantis" from tape while we slip off to Lowe's before they close to try to cobble something together that I can glue over the piece in the wall. It's not just a piece of pipe, it's the union I originally used to attach the tub spout, and without tearing the wall out, I can't cut it off to attach another union.

An hour in Lowe's going from one plumbing aisle to another, gather enough pieces to try 3 different things and then out the door for less than $9.

A "union" for a much larger "sanitary side" fitting that isn't intended for hot/cold, but since it's not actually going to have water in it, but be glued to the piece in the wall and have another union glued inside it, turns out to be the one that works, the reattach the tub spout, and by 10 it's fixed. The only thing was that the purple primer for the glue ran down the white tub enclosure and stained it...off to the garage for polishing compound and Meguiars, and it's good as new.

When we replaced the old kitchen cabinets with new, they turned out to be about 2" "shallower" so all along the face of them there was a 2" gap between them and the "acoustic texture" that my Dad had had sprayed on the ceilings in the late 70's. Too big a gap to hide with trim, so I spent part of last week before work trying to spread texture onto the ceiling with a putty knife, as you can't roll it with the cabinet face there. I think I had as much on me as the ceiling! After cleaning off the countertops, the sink, the cabinet faces, and then myself, I wasn't about to try to paint the ceiling with covering everything!

I had spent part of my day Saturday hanging drop cloths in the kitchen (leaving them so I could still cook) so I could paint the ceiling that night, but after the plumbing emergency, and needing to let the glue dry for a while before the shower ran again, the painting got put off until Sunday.

Since I've lost 90 pounds and almost 24" in the last year, I've replaced some of my wardrobe, and the things I have that fit I can't really spare for painting in; of the old clothes, none will stay up when my arms go over my head...

So that's how you end up painting the kitchen ceiling in your underwear!

The shower worked fine the next day (and still is working fine); the ceiling I'm not so happy with, but I'm not sure anyone but me would notice it; one of those "I know it's there" things, where it jumps out at me.

And now, after a nine hour shift and another 500 cars out the door, it's time for a shower and some sleep!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The delight of my Tuesday last week!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Happy 300th Birthday Ben Franklin !!!!
The Great Franklin-Bush debate...in 6 rounds:

Bush: America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
Franklin: All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones. In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace. When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?


Bush Health care reform must begin with Medicare; Medicare is the binding commitment of a caring society. We must renew that commitment by giving seniors access to preventive medicine and new drugs that are transforming health care in America.
Franklin: Well done is better than well said.


Bush: There is no "trust fund," just IOUs that I saw firsthand, that future generations will pay---will pay for either in higher taxes, or reduced benefits, or cuts to other critical government programs. The office here in Parkersburg stores those IOUs. They're stacked in a filing cabinet. Imagine---the retirement security for future generations is sitting in a filing cabinet. It's time to strengthen and modernize Social Security for future generations with growing assets that you can control, that you call your own---assets that the government cannot take away.
Franklin: Half a truth is often a great lie.


Bush: The fact that somebody leaked this program [of illegally spying on Americans without a warrant] causes great harm to the United States. There's an enemy out there.
Franklin: Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.


Bush: I'm a uniter, not a divider. I refuse to play the politics of putting people into groups and pitting one group against another.
Franklin: Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest.


Bush: I'm not going to change my mind.
Franklin: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise. ... When you're finished changing, you're finished.

Final score: Bush 0 Franklin 6

That's right---the guy with the cardiovascular system of a teenager just got his clock cleaned by a 300 year-old man.

posted by Doobert's Digs at 8:25 AM


I can hear the screams of traitor were this to happen!


Monday, January 23, 2006

Introducing a friend...

My Monday post was originally going to regale you with the story of my Saturday night spent trying to reattach the tub spout my spouse snapped off the bathroom wall without tearing the wall out, and my Sunday night spent painting a ceiling in my underwear. Instead, Jules at "Doobert's Digs" gave me permission to repost from her blog because last week she had two columns I wanted to share; those are also going to wait a day or two because her Sunday entry is grand.

Without further ado:

Axis of Evil !!!

They are vehemently against abortion, they resist progressive woman's rights. They view homosexuality as a crime against nature and God, some advocate the death penalty as an option for it. Separation of Church and State is despised by these folks; they insist the nation is founded on the principles of their religion, and they work hard to bring that de facto theocracy about. They deplore strong language, gay characters, and sexual content on TV and in the media. And they ignore the Geneva Convention when it suits their ideological purposes, including provisions against torture or due process. They're anti-stem cell research, pro-creationism, and generally distrustful of science. These folks are easily whipped into a state of frenzy with ideological manipulation to the point where they will commit violence, or at least tacitly endorse that violence is acceptable, if it advances their Divine agenda. They then take great pains to justify that violence, including unprovoked attack of civilian areas, under certain conditions, with convoluted theological gymnastics. They are almost to the man pro-death penalty ... Am I railing against the religious right again?

Could be, but my target here is actually Al Qaeda and related fundamentalist Wahhabism; the source of terrorism, the scourge of our planet, the Axis of Evil.

posted by Doobert's Digs at 6:42 PM

Sometimes I am tempted to think of this wondrous place we all meet as the rings radiating from a pebble tossed into a pond, ever spreading and growing. This is a ring I had to share...


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Airman Apprentice

I was 17 in 1973 and home on leave between my boot camp and aircraft schools at Memphis and my assigned duty station at Imperial Beach. I had graduated 3rd out of my "A" school; the top 3 were supposed to be able to pick either our duty station or aircraft. I picked Barber's Point, Hawaii; Rota, Spain (inspired by Michener's "Caravans"); my 3rd choice was fixed wing aircraft. The two who graduated above me, the top one being one of the first WAVE jet mechs through school made similar choices. None of us picked helicopters, none of us picked San Diego...

Dad and I had started "playing" with photography in '68; we had belonged to a "black and white" camera club shooting assigned and open subjects each month for competition and judging for almost that long at this point. Dad shot a set of slides and a set of black and white while I was home; Mom had learned how to "hand oil" b&w into color and there is a 16x20 of one of those running around here somewhere. While I was gone for the next year, Dad taught himself color printing and processing. His portraiture got better, and by the time cancer caught up with him in '83 he was making as much from wedding and portrait photography as he was his "real" job.

My apologies for not keeping things chronological, it's been a busy week so I pulled the first slide I liked out of the first tray I got to...

Looking forward to everyone else's Photo Sunday posts! As "The Butler" said not so long ago, I'm spending way too much time here, but have to check in on you all each day just to see "what's up"! Always a source of amazement, delight, or illumination, you are each treasured!


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Odd fellow...

Just in case you thought I was kidding about growing up listening to things different than most of my generation, I just used my Borders gift card from Christmas to order a couple of things off my Amazon list. The first is a box set of some recordings I've read about my whole life;

the 2nd is a 1961 Sophia Loren movie I've been reading about for 15 years but never seem to catch on TV to tape: "Two Women", which she won her Oscar for. I couldn't pull a sharp image of it...

Every time I've ever heard that as a lodge name, I've figured I probably belonged and just hadn't found the card yet!

Now that you're all ready to commit me...see you tomorrow!


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


By Nancy...

Four jobs I've had:
1.) Grocery store sacker; from 16 to graduation at 17.
2.) Navy helicopter mechanic; 17-19 on active duty, then weekend warrior for 3 years.
3.) Janitor, Navy Exchange North Island; only a few months while we were waiting for
my wife to have our first son and be discharged.
4.) General Motors autoworker; Sept. 1978 through the present. When I hired in my
oldest was 5 months old and the youngest was on the way. Now the youngest has
3 of his own...

Four places I've lived:
1.) Kansas City, Kansas, from birth to 17, and from 22 'til now.
2.) Memphis (Millington), Tennessee; boot camp and jet mechanic schools.
3.) Imperial Beach, California; 17-22.
4.) The USS Kittyhawk, CV-63; from November, 1973 until June, 1974.

Movies I'd watch again: (and again and again)
1.) Intolerance (1916, D.W. Griffith)
2.) City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
3.) The Kid (1921, Charles Chaplin)
4.) The Thief of Bagdad (1924, Douglas Fairbanks, dir. by Raoul Walsh)

TV shows I love to watch:
1.) Supernatural
2.) How I Met Your Mother
3.) Out of Practice
4.) Two and a Half Men

Four of my favorite foods:
1.) Steak and shrimp (together or separately, so it isn't really cheating!)
2.) Grilled chicken breast
3.) Spaghetti and meatballs
4.) Chicken Parmesan

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1.) Vermont (where my wife is from and I love it there, it's so beautiful!!!)
2.) the Yorkshire Moors (too in love with Bronte novels)
3.) Table Rock Lake, southern Missouri (grew up fishing there with Dad each summer)
4.) Cornwall (just because I'd love to see it)

Four Bloggers I'd like to tag:
1.) Blogzie (because I can't imagine what her answers will be)
2.) Sttropezbutler (because I'd like to know more about him)
3.) Annie (like Blogzie, I just can't imagine...)
4.) Mary (like STB, I'd like to know more)

of course, this list could go on and on, with Inger and Dr. Deb and so many others!

I saw another one of these last week that had some other categories, one of which I liked:

Four "albums" I can't live without:
1.) Gerry Mulligan-"Live in Paris, 1954" (love every note he ever played, but this is my desert island disc)
2.) Joni Mitchell-every album, but especially "Miles of Aisles"
3.) Lara St. John-"Gypsy"
4.) Joni Mitchell-"Court and Spark"

I was going to throw in Blogzie's "Five Weird Things About Me", but can't come up with 5...

1.) I have no toe nails on either big toe (different mishaps over the years).
2.) I have the ugliest tattoo on my right shoulder from a drunken night in Hong Kong
when I was 18 and didn't figure to see 21. (Coffin bodied "trike" driven by a
3.) I sleep with 6 pillows (on my side, two under my knee and leg, two in front of
me, two under my head)


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Grandpa Floyd and I, 1958

This is my Dad's Dad. He was born in 1899, graduated high school and went to Telegrapher's School for the Santa Fe Railroad, graduating it just in time for World War 1. Son of a Civil War soldier (later a minister), with 3 older brothers who were in the military at the time of the Spanish American War, he enlisted and was assigned to the Signal Corps. He ended up in Europe, in the trenches and was "gassed", spending a year or so recuperating before he was discharged with chronic asthma, and later it turned out weak heart as well.

He came back and decided to follow his father's footsteps and become a minister. He was in the 2nd graduating class from Baylor's seminary (I believe in 1925); while attending it he met my grandmother, Lila, and by the time he graduated they had married and had two boys. My Dad came along in '27, they lost a little girl to pneumonia in '28; that fall Grandpa had his first heart attack. It took a year for him to recover, and the doctors said that desert air would be easier on his asthma so they took a missionary post in New Mexico. Grandma talked about how the dust and sand was so bad as they drove west they stuffed cloth and rags in the door jambs of the car to try to keep from choking on it!

Their last son was born in 1930; by the mid 30's they moved back to Oklahoma so the 4 boys would have a better education. Grandpa had various churches; in the late 30's he had another heart attack, not as bad, but he didn't recover as well, either. He kept going, the oldest 3 boys went off to WW2, my Dad leaving high school to enlist. After they returned and the youngest son graduated Grandpa had another heart attack so they requested another mission assigment and went back to New Mexico to a post on a Navajo reservation in summer 1950. They also traveled and lectured for the Mission Board, sometimes together, sometimes singly. This slide was from a visit on their way to or from somewhere.

They came to stay a week when my sister was born in '59 (some of my earliest memories); with all the driving and traveling, Grandpa as I remember him always seemed tired. In summer 1960 he had his 4th heart attack, bad enough that my Dad loaded us in his '55 Fairlane and was in Bernalillo from Kansas City in under 12 hours (no interstate then, all 2 lane). Grandpa got better, but they told him he had to give up preaching and mission work. He started making plans to retire, and finally did in 1963, moving to Nocona, Texas. I asked him once why he picked there, and he said when he was a boy he was riding on a wagon with his Dad freighting molasses from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls and it seemed like a nice little town, that he decided then he'd come back someday! He also had an older brother there, and two more brothers just across the Oklahoma state line around Marietta, where they had lived in the 30's and early 40's.

He tuned pianos, and made friends at the Masonic Lodge, but his "calling" got the better of him, and in 1965 he "took" another church at a little crossroads called Belcherville, Texas. I remember attending a Sunday service there and looking up at the numbers board to see that he had a congregation of 13 the week before.

For Mother's Day of 1966 he bought Grandma a new Ford "Custom" and when the dealer offered him a "death rider", he took it. In June, 2 weeks short of his 67th birthday he was up early, finished drafting his Sunday sermon, went out and got the mail and then went in to sit on Grandma's bed and talk to her. He collapsed on her, and that was his final heart attack. I was 8 at the time.

Grandma lived another 34 years on her own. More of her later...


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

From an old friend...

"Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do."

"About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation."

"Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing, and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even."

"Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?"

"Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."

"On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does."

"Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."

"I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him "father."

"Our constitution protects aliens, drunks and U.S. Senators."

"Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it."

"This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer."

"Why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth."

This last one I have to paraphrase, but the same gentleman once asked:

"If the opposite of pro is con, then the opposite of progress is...?"

All quotes from Will Rogers, Nov. 4, 1879 - Aug. 15, 1935

Monday, January 09, 2006

A True Patriot!

Army pilot was hero at My Lai

Published: January 8th, 2006 02:30 AM

Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot who rescued Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai massacre, reported the killings to his superior officers in a rage over what he had seen, testified at the inquiries and received a commendation from the Army three decades later, has died in Alexandria, La. He was 62.

The cause was cancer, Jay DeWorth, a spokesman for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center where Thompson died Friday, told The Associated Press.

On March 16, 1968, Thompson, a chief warrant officer, and his two crewmen were flying on a reconnaissance mission over the South Vietnamese village of My Lai when they spotted bodies strewn over the landscape.

Thompson landed twice in an effort to determine what was happening, finally coming to the realization that a massacre was taking place. The second time, he touched down near a bunker in which a group of about 10 civilians were being menaced by American troops. Using hand signals, Thompson persuaded the Vietnamese to come out while ordering his gunner and his crew chief to shoot any American soldiers who opened fire on the civilians. None did.

Thompson told of what he had seen when he returned to his base. “They said I was screaming quite loud,” he told US News & World Report in 2004. “I threatened never to fly again. I didn’t want to be a part of that. It wasn’t war.”

Thompson later testified before Congress, a military inquiry and the court-martial of Lt. William L. Calley Jr., the platoon leader at My Lai, who was the only soldier to be convicted in the massacre.

In 1998, the Army presented Thompson with the Soldier’s Medal, for heroism not involving conflict with an enemy. .
There's not much an old sailor can add to that story; I do have some questions, though! It wasn't so long ago a group of veterans was denying that things like this went on, and said that anyone who told such stories was disparaging them and their service. They called themselves the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth...

There are those who deny the Holocaust, saying it never happened and that it was a media stunt. There are those who deny the Armenian massacre, and Turks who speak of it are tried for treason. There have were denials in the Balkans about the massacre at Srebrenica and initially about the Rwandan genocide. Tienanmen square is denied in China, Pearl Harbor isn't taught in Japanese history books, let alone the rape of Nanking which is still denied even though the Japanese government apologized for it!

I am sure my words here would be considered treasonous by some; they forget that there was once a King named George who tried to deny his people the right to speak, and had his tail thoroughly kicked for it. He spied, he jailed, he oppressed, and they rose to defeat him. Though most of our citizenry isn't of that same fiery stock our ancestors were, there has to be a way to show our current King George the error of his ways, even if it's only showing his party the door in the next election cycle.

Somehow we have to take our country back from big business, the lobbyists and the "cronie-ists". The revolving door between officeholders, elected and appointed, and lobbyist positions needs to be welded shut. I don't know how to accomplish that, but there has to be a way!

We used to have a collective conscience as a nation; now we only seem to have a wallet! I miss the country I grew up in-desperately!


Sunday, January 08, 2006

February 1959...

is the date on the slide; figuring it was shot in January or so, that makes me a tick over 3...still an only child at that point with a little sister arriving in August of that year. Still a good looking kid at that point, considering what's become of him!



Saturday, January 07, 2006

I survived!

Back to work on Tuesday; 200 new vacation hours, so before the night was over put in for one for Thursday (wife had an extra day off and works this weekend). We went to "Chronicles of Narnia" with my older son and his wife, came home for dinner and "Bewitched" and then when they went home slipped back out for the last showing of "Aeon Flux" at the multiplex. Today it was up early (for a 2nd shift worker), birthday shopping for grandaughter, then back to the cinema for "Rumor Has It" before I went to work and she got to watch SciFri.

Sometimes life is very very good!

I probably shouldn't admit going off now to watch Battlestar, should I?



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Forgive me another long one...

I received the following from The Waterkeeper Alliance this afternoon, and hope you don't mind me sharing. My response letter is below the original e-mail.

"Tell EPA Not to Cut the Toxic Release Inventory Program"

EPA wants to slash the information available to the public on toxic
releases of poisonous industrial pollutants. But before they can move
forward they must take and consider comments from the public. Waterkeeper
Alliance is submitting detailed legal and scientific comments, but
comments from individual citizens are also highly valuable for the process -
your action will show EPA that their stealth rollbacks and midnight
deals with polluters are being watched.

TOXIC RELEASE INVENTORY: EPA recently announced plans to dismantle the
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), our nation's premier tool for notifying
the public out about toxic pollution releases. The TRI program tracks
the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, land and water by
24,000 U.S. industrial facilities. The information enables citizens to
understand the risks to their communities and press companies to reduce
their pollution. But EPA is placing corporations ahead of community
safety with enormous rollbacks in TRI reporting.

WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS? Despite the success of this reporting
program, EPA claims the rollbacks are needed to reduce the paperwork burden on

WHAT ARE THEY DOING? EPA has proposed three changes, each of which
would leave citizens in the dark about dangerous pollution in their
communities. First, the rule changes will permit facilities to hide
information on the production of small amounts of persistent bioacculuative
toxins (PBTs), even thought these chemicals are highly dangerous even small
quantities because they persist in the environment and build up in
people's bodies. Second, changes will allow companies to pollute ten times
as much before being required to report the details about how much
toxic pollution was produced and where it went for non-PBT chemicals.
Third, EPA announced its intent to Congress that it wants to cut the annual
program in half by eliminating every other year of reporting.

Waterkeeper Alliance has submitted detailed comments to the agency and
a bipartisan group of Senators has called on EPA to leave the existing
program in place (reply to action@waterkeeper.org to receive a copy of
Waterkeeper Alliance and the Senate comments.)

Please use the suggested talking points to submit your comments to EPA
by Friday, January 13, 2006:

1) I strongly urge EPA to withdraw its proposed changes to the Toxics
Release Inventory program, our nation's premier tool for notifying the
public about releases of toxic pollution.
2) EPA must not restrict the public's access to information on toxics
releases. Supplying this information is not a "burden," it is good
business to look out for the health and safety of workers and communities.
The public has a right to all the information currently collected and
make public through this program.
3) EPA should not raise the triggering reporting threshold for non-PBT
chemicals from 500 pounds ten-fold to 5,000 pounds - these chemicals
are highly dangerous even in small amounts.
4) The alternate year reporting would deny citizens up-to-date
information about local toxic releases, reduce incentives to minimize waste
generation, and undermine enforcement of environmental laws.

Use the talking points above and your own comments in an email or
letter to fax or mail to EPA:

Identify your comments by Docket ID No. TRI-2005-0073
- Email Comments to oei.docket@epa.gov
- Or, Fax comments to 202-566-0741
- Or, Mail comments to Office of Environmental Information (OEI)
Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code: 28221I, 1200 Pennsylvania
Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20460. Attention Docket ID No. TRI-2005-0073

Comments must be submitted by January 13, 2006.

My response:

"Toxic Release Inventory Program" my thoughts on your proposal, please read!

My first reaction was "how dare you"! It's bad enough that so few people bother to find out what's really going on in their areas to begin with; to have you restrict the information only compounds the problem! In Kansas City, we've had sections of the Kansas River closed to fishing for years now, along with sections of the levees themselves that were made "no go" zones because of pollution from a company that used to manufacture Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. These are places that used to be open for recreation, both for fishing and for dune buggy and motocross bikes; today they would be wonderful for my mountain bike, if only they were safe!

If you gather the information to begin with, it's release is not a major expense. That is not an excuse or reason for changing any part of the reporting process.

Raising the reporting threshold for non-PBT chemicals at all is a criminal proposal. Just because they aren't PBT does not make them harmless; there are too many known repurcussions from these to allow any change to this threshold! I recently saw a photograph from a National Geographic photographer of children in a Moscow neighborhood all missing hands, on the same side, as a direct result of localized pollution. To allow even the possiblility of this happening here should be something so terrible to contemplate that a proposal like this should never even be thought of, let alone allowed to get this far into process!

As I said above, any change in reporting processes is not an option. You already have the data, making it available annually is not adding an unecessary burden to anyone except those who would use it to circumvent their responsibilities to the public either legally or morally.

My grandparents were Baptist Missionaries on the reservation systems in the Southwest and Oklahoma from the 1920's through the early 60's. Grandma used to point out that the Cherokee had a manta of not deciding anything until you thought of how it would impact your people for 7 generations. I have grandchildren, and hope to see them have children of their own before my life ends; I'd like them to grow up somewhere cleaner and safer than I did, not less so!

That was where I signed it and gave my name, address, and phone number.

I realize what file this will probably end up in (John Milner referred to it as C.S. in "American Graffiti") but I had to try to do something. If one or two of you can find time to write them it may help. I also forwarded a copy to my Congressman, just so he knew what I was up to, though being the only "blue" representative from a "red" state doesn't make things any easier for him.

Thank you all for reading if you got this far, and once again, forgive me the length of this!


Monday, January 02, 2006

A late entry for photo Sunday...

from the combination birthday/New Year's Eve party this last weekend. May the internet survive, along with your monitors and eyesight!