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Yes, that O'Malley, Martin O'Malley, the current darling of the progressives, the presumptive shining white knight who will save us from the deeply flawed Hillary Clinton, sharing the despicable zero-tolerance policies of Michael Bloomberg? In Baltimore, O'Malley began and advocated zero-tolerance policies that led to stop-and-frisk policies that clearly targeted minorities. The same policies that eventually led to shootings and beatings of minorities in a variety of cities including New York, Boston, and Ferguson were espoused by a Democrat who is now being touted as a Democratic candidate for President?

Sadly, it is true.

Of course, this has been known by the citizens of Baltimore and the press for a long time. Which is not to say that O'Malley has no supporters... of course he does.

For today, let's take a look at a New York Times article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg from April 24, 2015 - Baltimore's 'Broken Relationship' With Police.

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Why in the hell are Dem Party leaders giving away the store?

Harry Reid floats and supports "idea" after "idea" that totally screw the Democratic Party base and then I read in my newspaper this morning that the Dems (in the person of Rep. George Miller) are "working across party lines" to screw up to 1,500,000 mostly Union workers out of their pensions by agreeing to lower future payouts. The government is supposed to insure and ensure pensions, not try to kill them with a thousand cuts!

If the f%$&ing Republicans want to slash pension benefits, LET THEM DO IT ON THEIR OWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

You know what I'm sayin'?????

And Steve Israel aka Doctor Doom is going to try to inundate my mailbox with another two years of depressing and assholic messages???

And they wonder why they can't get their base to turn out????

There is something totally rotten at the top of the Democratic Party and it needs fixing. The next Democratic Presidential nominee needs to represent the base!

Not that the issue of who would best represent the issues confronting ordinary Americans has a chance in hell of arising during the primary process....

Sorry for the short diary, but this crap is driving me crazy and I don't have much hair left to pull out...

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Mon Sep 22, 2014 at 01:31 PM PDT

RIP - Bob Poli

by hillbrook green

Bob Poli, former PATCO President, passed on last week. In life he was vilified by ignorant know-nothings after he accepted the direction of PATCO members to lead the union out on strike on August 3, 1981. Forty-eight hours later, 11,500 PATCO strikers were fired by then-President Ronnie Rayguns.

This strike is now universally marked as the beginning of the downfall for the union movement. Although PATCO received material support from other unions, no unions (in particular airline pilots, flight mechanics, flight attendants, and other airline-related "unions") honored the PATCO picket lines.

A year before the strike, PATCO leadership, having grown frustrated with the staunchly anti-union Jimmy Carter (yeah, yeah, I know, he is a saint.... except when it came to unions!!), endorsed Ronnie for President

“You can rest assured,” Mr. Reagan, a former president of the Screen Actors Guild, wrote to Mr. Poli just days before the election, “that if I am elected president, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.”
(New York Times)

Yeah, well that didn't happen.

I personally listened to Bob and other PATCO leaders at a pre-strike meeting when they predicted (CORRECTLY, I might add) that if PATCO members rejected the FAA's final offer and voted to strike there were only two possible outcomes: either everyone would be fired or no one would be fired (my emphasis).

We were all adults. We were warned of the possible consequences of our actions. No one coerced us into striking, least of all Bob Poli. He simply did what we directed him to do. I've written another diary about the conditions that led up to the strike, so I won't bother recapping and if anybody wants to argue about the strike, write your own damn diary.

This diary is a tribute to someone who influenced my life beyond description simply by doing what I and my colleagues asked him to do. And he paid for it every day for the rest of his life. And for that I am sorry.

RIP Bob, and thank you from the depths of my heart.

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I am only listing the URL since I don't have a license to upload the image below which is owned by the Baltimore Sun, I think. Sorry for the lack of immediate gratification. This photo shows the recent Oso, Washington landslide on the extreme left. Notice the bumpy or hummocky area immediately below the fresh fault scarp. This is a typical feature of landslides. However, immediately to the right of that brand new fault scarp, there is another ancient fault scarp with the typical hummocky outflow area below it. AND further right pass the road (which may itself be on an outflow from a landslide) there is another prominent fault scarp with another typical hummocky outflow below it.

Oso landslide

Here is the text for the link in case the above link doesn't work:

http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/...

Of course, I feel badly for the loss of life, but whoever decided this would be a good place to live apparently didn't know anything about geology.

The next time you hear someone complaining about zoning laws and the cost of maintaining government agencies to warn the population about geologic hazards, you might want to consider the cost of this tragedy in human lives and money. Perhaps there were warnings made to the people that live here, but I am speculating there were not.

UPDATE: thanks to Jan4insight  for this link to article about previous warnings

There were warnings!

UPDATE2: and in this article brought to my attention by my Geomorphologist friend, Ann Youberg, you can see an image that shows where ANOTHER SLIDE OCCURRED IN PRECISELY THE SAME ARE IN 2006, yet when a geomorphologist went to see the slide after it happened he saw new houses being built adjacent to that slide!!!

This slide in same area as 2006 slide!

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By way of introduction, I was raised in eastern Missouri and spent my first three decades of life in different areas of the Midwest. I have personally witnessed several tornadoes, including one on a very scary afternoon in Sikeston, Missouri. I was living in a duplex rental at that time which had no storm shelter. I had to wait by my car (ready to flee) and watch a tornado slowly bearing down on my location for ten minutes before it finally veered off about a mile away.

My wife and I traveled from Arizona to Missouri two years ago during the month of May. Heading east we saw several large wildfires along the Interstate west of Oklahoma City (OKC), another common hazard for that area that is forecast to worsen in coming decades. Moore is just south of OKC. We stayed in Joplin, Missouri overnight about two weeks before the Joplin tornado hit. The motel we stayed at was spared destruction but the restaurant we ate in that night was totally destroyed in the tornado two weeks later. Heading back home just east of OKC we drove into one of the worst storms I have ever experienced; bad enough that we had to exit the turnpike and wait it out for nearly an hour before the rain abated enough to allow safe travel. We stayed at a motel in north OKC that night and left in the morning, headed west. That night a tornado came within a mile-and-a-half of the OKC motel we stayed at the previous night.

The houses in the area I was raised in all had basements and we had a designated shelter area in our house in the basement and I can remember huddling in it during violent storms when I was young. Fortunately the town I lived in growing up was never directly hit by a tornado. I understand that parts of Oklahoma, including Moore, have geological conditions that make it prohibitive from a financial standpoint to build full basements. Some people, according to news reports, have small shelters built under the concrete in their garage, just large enough for emergency shelter.

Moore, Oklahoma, as we all have been reminded by the news anchors, was hit in 1999 by a devastating F5 tornado with winds estimated at 300 miles an hour, which would be the highest winds ever observed on our planet. CBS News reported the tornado yesterday to be the third tornado to hit Moore since the 1999 event, making four tornadoes in 14 years. Yesterday's tornado followed a path very similar to the 1999 F5 tornado.

Folk wisdom would have you believe that tornadoes and lightning never strike twice in the same place... which is ridiculous of course. Lightning can strike in the same place repeatedly and often does. Anyone living in Moore, OK prior to yesterday should have been well aware that tornadoes have struck their town fairly often. Yet today on a news report, a young man who had sheltered in an interior closet of his house and luckily survived was asked why they had not gone to an emergency shelter when the alarm and warnings sounded. His reply: "Well, we get those warnings all the time."

Moore, OK and the surrounding area get a lot of tornadoes and all the people who live there know it.

Of course an adult is allowed to make bad decisions and ignore warnings and place his own life in danger. This type of behavior is extremely costly to our society, but as we see in natural disasters like Joplin and super-storm Sandy and now Moore, some adults do ignore warnings at great cost to themselves and our society.

But what about adult decisions that cost children's lives?

What about decisions by "responsible" adults like mayors and city councils and school boards and the voting public that cost children's lives?

Specifically, in a place like Moore, why were grade-school children and their teachers left with no alternative but to seek shelter in an interior hallway of their school?

In a town that has experienced one of the strongest tornadoes ever observed and two other tornadoes in the last fourteen years, why would they leave their precious and vulnerable children without durable and specifically designated shelter from a common and deadly weather hazard?

Maybe it is too early to ask this question. Surely there will never be another tornado in Moore, right? I mean, they've had their share over the last fourteen years, right? It couldn't possibly happen again, right? I mean it's not like 98% of the climate scientists agree that extreme weather events are likely to increase in the coming decades, right?

I'm wondering if the mayor and the city council and the school board will decide to construct proper shelter within the new schools that will be built in that city to replace the ones that were destroyed.

Or will they, like their state and federal elected officials, deny the coming reality of more dangerous extreme weather events that happen more often?

I certainly hope that they at least consider of the safety of their children before they approve the construction plans for their new schools.

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Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:37 AM PST

Cautiously optimistic in Tucson

by hillbrook green

This doesn't seem to have been discussed, but the Democratic Party has a new member in Tucson - City Council Member Steve Kozachik.

He was elected to the City Council as a Republican in 2008. For reasons explained below the orange thingy, this is a rarity in Tucson politics.

Apparently there is something in the water here (fluoride?) that gives epiphanies to people who think they are Republicans.

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Nobody seems to have mentioned this, but last night Rachel Maddow had a comparative graph of the conservative campaign financing groups showing "bang for the buck" - how much of the money conservative groups gave to winning candidates.

As you can imagine (quite gleefully) every single one got pretty dismal results, none more than 33% effective, as I remember.

However the NRA was particularly dismal in this respect with only 0.82% of their contributions going to campaigns which were actually winners.

I say again:     0.82%    effective contributions.

This is the "juggernaut" that Congress is terrified of?????????????????????

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racists

and those who are willing to be associated with racists.

Please spread this around liberally. This is the truth. We all know it. Quit being polite around Republicans and force them to disavow this shameful state of affairs.

They've got something nasty out in the woodshed and we need to force them to confront their dirty little problem.

h/t to JTinDC for the idea.

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No, this isn't more poll results. This is another thing. I believe it is referred to as a "diary". The following represents my own damn thoughts, my own damn opinions, and my own damn conclusions.

Now if anyone else is tired of shiny objects and numbers and quotes being dangled before your eyes, telling you how to feel and how to vote and how to take a crap....

You can take a break by following me beyond the orange squiggly thing.

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I went to the hottest place on earth, Lake Havasu City, Arizona last month for a weekend to see my son and daughter-in-law. I developed some heavy-duty respiratory symptoms while there. When we got back my wife insisted I either go see my doctor or go to the emergency room. I got in the next day to see my doctor. He sent me for X-rays. Got the X-rays the next day and that same afternoon my doctor called me back and said I had a pleural effusion - fluid had collected in my pleural space, the area between my lungs and my ribs. He wanted me to go see a pulmonologist about my fluid problem and a cardiologist in case it was related to a heart problem. He also told me to go straight to the emergency room if my symptoms worsened. He had also had me tested for Valley Fever, but that test had come back negative. All this took two-and-a-half days from the time I called my doctor until I had the results.

Naturally the symptoms got worse (power of suggestion?). So two days later, I went to the emergency room about 9 am. Got in immediately when I gave my age as 62 and said the words "chest pain". No delay whatsoever.

They determined that I probably wasn't having a heart attack, so they called in a pulmonary specialist, who arrived a couple of hours later. They took x-rays, and an MRI and blood work. Eventually they stuck a needle in my back and drew off a quart of stuff that looked like a dark brown ale - it even had a head on it. More x-rays and prescriptions and waiting to be discharged.

By 6 pm I was out of there - a total of about 9 hours. Exhausted, but able to breathe better. I've been slowly improving since. I'm fine. Not looking for sympathy.

Everything about the hospital stay was pretty good. Competent and compassionate personnel kept an eye on me all day. I was seen by (in my observation) a very good doctor and very good specialist in what seemed like a reasonable amount of time. The only unpleasant thing that happened was a nurse having to forcibly draw blood from a very scared and screaming 4 year-old girl in the next bay - twice.

Anyway, a couple of weeks later I got a "Statement of Expenses - NOT A BILL - DO NOT PAY" from the hospital. Total - $12,936.50. For 9 hours in a hospital.

I was a little surprised, but having had a couple of series of x-rays and an MRI and EKG monitoring all day and an outpatient surgical procedure (well, they used a scalpel to make a small incision to insert the needle), I decided I was glad I had insurance. United Healthcare. I'm not going to say good insurance because for the last couple of years they have been denying me tests and procedures that should probably have been covered in my opinion.

So here is the kicker.

How much did I pay? $125 for an emergency room visit.

How much did my insurance pay? $955

The "In-network Discount" was $11,856.50!!!!

The insurance company has assured me I will not have to pay any more to the hospital.

Our health insurance "system" is absolutely insane. My health insurance costs around $7000 per year. Yet they get the hospital to write off more than 90% of a bill?

Should I be pissed off that the hospital charged a huge amount to treat me? Should I be pissed off that the insurance company paid next to nothing?

Or should I just curl up into a little ball and say "Thank you tiny little baby Jesus, that I am fortunate enough to be able to afford any health insurance at all"?

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Wed May 09, 2012 at 05:57 PM PDT

I just donated

by hillbrook green

to Barack Obama and you should too.

Barack Obama support and donate

I had not donated in this cycle until today. I support the President fully, but I was going to wait until after the convention to donate.

When politicians do what you want them to do, you show your support and donate.

That's it. Short and sweet.

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Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 03:40 PM PDT

What is happening in Arizona?

by hillbrook green

As a resident of Arizona, I wake up every morning and eventually ask myself, after watching the news or reading the newspaper, "What the hell is happening here?".

Two weeks ago, a Hispanic friend of mine sent me an editorial that offers a reasonable, logical explanation for all the crazy shit that happens here almost daily. That is, the explanation is reasonable and logical, not the behavior.

I would like to draw your attention to an editorial from the Boston Globe - The self-destruction of Arizona, by Juliette Kayyem. Ms. Kayyem has worked as counsel to Attorney General Janet Napolitano, who was the immediate predecessor to our present (ahem) Governor, Jan Brewer. This article ties all the bat-shit crazy behavior up in one neat bundle and explains it quite succinctly and even manages to provide an explanation of the consequences of our legislators' and governor's idiotic behavior.

Note that the article is on two pages; the link to the second page is at the bottom of the first.

I am not going to try to summarize the article; it stands very well on its own.

I highly encourage anyone who is puzzled by Arizona to read this short editorial. It will answer many of your questions.

Kudos to Juliette Kayyem for giving a short summary of the problem and the consequences. It's still crazy out here, but I think I have a better understanding of why. I've always embraced the multicultural aspects of Tucson, my home. Until now, it never really dawned on me how scary it must be for lots of other people who think a multicultural society means the end of the world.

Call me naive, I guess.

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