Friday, December 13, 2013

This is how monsters are created - Teen with ‘affluenza’ gets away with murder

Good Day World!

Did you know there’s actually a term for spoiled rich kids (other than brats)?

It’s referred to as "affluenza." Translated, that means a person experiencing the emotional pitfalls of consumerism and excess wealth. Poor babies. It must be tough.

The term was popularized in the late 1990s by Jessie O'Neill, the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the book "The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence."

It has since been used to describe a condition in which children - generally from richer families - have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol, explained Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist who does family wealth advising.

From what I’ve seen and read about the justice system in this country, there’s no doubt that the wealthy and their children are judged by different standards. Examples are everywhere.

The latest one involves a drunken rich teenager who killed four pedestrians in his pickup truck loaded down with two cases of beer and his buddies. What outrages me is this is clearly a case of his parents wealth reducing his crime to just probation.

What do you suppose this 16-year old learned? it’s obvious: he’s now aware that he can get away with murder using money. Simple but an effective message. Throw in a corrupt court system and lawyers and judges that should be forced to take ethics classes, and you have chaos in our so-called system of justice.

Here’s the final kicker; Mommy and Daddy don’t want the little darling to do his probation-only sentence in that nasty Texas probation system (Oh, heavens no! That’s for the poor!), so their highly paid lawyer is working with the judge to let the underage killer go to a luxurious rehab center in Newport (let’s go surfing) California! The parents don’t have any problem paying the $450,000 a year it’ll cost.

This is how you create monsters...

This is the story:     

“A North Texas teen from an affluent family received a probation-only sentence this week for losing control of his pickup truck while drunk and killing four pedestrians, a punishment that has outraged the victims' families and left prosecutors disappointed.

The 16-year-old boy was sentenced Tuesday in a Fort Worth juvenile court to 10 years of probation after he confessed to charges of intoxication manslaughter in the June 15 crash on a dark rural road.

Prosecutors had sought the maximum 20 years in state custody for the Keller teen, but his attorneys appealed to state District Judge Jean Boyd that he needed rehabilitation instead of imprisonment, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

His pickup truck slammed into the four pedestrians, killing 43-year-old Burleson youth minister Brian Jennings; Breanna Mitchell, 24; Shelby Boyles, 21, and her 52-year-old mother, Hollie Boyles.

Prosecutor Richard Alpert argued in court that if the boy continues to be cushioned by his family's wealth, another tragedy is likely in his future.

"There can be no doubt that he will be in another courthouse one day blaming the lenient treatment he received here," he said.

Judge Boyd said the programs available in the Texas juvenile justice system may not provide the kind of intensive therapy the teen could receive at a rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, Calif., that was suggested by his defense attorneys. The parents would pick up the tab for the center, which runs more than $450,000 a year for treatment.

Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter, believes the family's wealth helped the teen avoid incarceration.

"Money always seems to keep you out of trouble," Boyles said. "Ultimately today, I felt that money did prevail. If you had been any other youth, I feel like the circumstances would have been different."

A psychologist called as an expert defense witness said the boy suffered from "affluenza," a term used to describe the emotional pitfalls of consumerism and excess wealth.”

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New poll shows Californians want to legalize marijuana

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Good Day World!

The fight to legalize marijuana goes on…

A new poll by the Field Research Corporation released yesterday shows that for the first time, a majority of California voters support the legalization of marijuana.

This is a notable change from 1969, when they first started measuring sentiments on marijuana, when only 13% favored its legalization.

The demonstrated failure of punitive drug policies to reduce use, potency and crime no doubt contributed to the turnaround, as did recent successful legalization efforts in Colorado, Washington and – just recently – Uruguay.

Only 31% of voters wanted strict enforcement of existing laws or tougher laws to be enacted. A poll about a proposed 2014 initiative received even higher support, at 56%.

“Marijuana laws ensure a dangerous illegal marketplace and destroy the lives of those convicted under them. And because police are allowed to keep assets seized in raids and federal grants reward drug arrests, they skew law enforcement priorities.

We’re not solving as many violent crimes now as we did before we started vigorously enforcing these laws. Californians are starting to recognize that and realize how much safer the trade would be if we were able to control and regulate it,” said Lieutenant Commander Diane Goldstein (Ret.) of the Redondo Beach Police Department and a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of police, DEA officials, customs agents, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials who, after fighting on the front lines of the war on drugs, now advocate for its end.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Government Shutdown Redue? Conservatives Threaten to Sabotage Budget Deal

Good Day World!

Are we facing the budget blues on January 15th, 2014?

It’s starting to look like the efforts to wrap up a budget plan before another government shutdown is in peril.

For starters, neither side is promising a “grand bargain” that will slash the federal budget. Congress has not been able to enact a budget bill since 2009. But it gets worse.

Budget negotiators in the U.S. Congress yesterday wrapped up a deal on a budget plan amid warnings from conservative groups that they would oppose it.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Representative Paul Ryan have been hammering out a two-year budget deal that attempts to put an end to the budget chaos that has kept Democrats and Republicans in constant warfare since 2011.

That warfare led to last October's 16-day government shutdown when agencies ran out of money.

If a Ryan-Murray deal is reached, it is expected to relax some of those cuts, which are known as "sequestration."

But the conservative group, Heritage Action for America, an offshoot of the Heritage Foundation, announced that it also could not support the emerging budget deal. It’s promise to obstruct the deal is ominous.

A vote in the Republican-controlled House could come by Friday, when that chamber plans to recess for the year.If it passes the House, the Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to vote on it late this week or next week.

The writing is on the wall though folks… right wing conservative groups wield a lot of money and power and if they want to force another shutdown the odds are they’ll try. The average American will suffer once again, as the corrupt pols we elected, take this country down the road to destruction!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In Time for Winter: New Cold Weather Cockroaches Show up in the Big Apple!

Good Day World!

New York is a wonderful, historic city, and you couldn’t pay me to live there! Especially now.

No offense to the locals, but when the cockroach population equals the human population it’s just not my kind of place to live.

Speaking of cockroaches, just in time for the bitter early winter slamming the East Coast, there’s news that a new species of cold weather cockroaches have been sited by researchers.

Eeeeyuuuuuu!….Brrrrrrrrrrrrr…..

Here’s the story:

“Life just got tougher for New Yorkers now that cold-weather cockroaches have moved in — but compared to the far more damaging invasive species out there, these bugs aren't so bad.

When you're talking about cockroaches, you're hitting many New Yorkers right where they live. One recent study showed that New York City's cockroach population mirrors the neighborhoods of the city's human population. Now there's a new breed of cockroach in Gotham: Periplaneta japonica, an Asian immigrant.

"We are both delibImage: Cockroacherately and inadvertently mixing species at an unprecedented rate," Christopher Dionigi, assistant director for national policy and programs at the National Invasive Species Council, told NBC News. "This is going on worldwide."

Periplaneta japonica can be particularly pernicious because the nymphs are able to survive on snow for long periods of time. Researchers say they appear to use a natural antifreeze called trehalose to stay alive through the long, cold winters in Japan, Korea and China — and now, perhaps in New York as well.” full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fairs, fair – Satan wants his due in Oklahoma too!

Good Day World!

The Devil wants his due in Oklahoma.

Right wing conservatives wanting to show how religious they are authorized a monument of the 10 Commandments and placed it at the the Oklahoma statehouse.

Well guess what? If they want to play that game the Satanic Community wants to play too. They intend to put up a pentagram with their own message. This idea, as you can image, is not very popular with the powers-that-be.

Here’s what happened: 

“In their zeal to tout their faith in the public square, conservatives in Oklahoma may have unwittingly opened the door to a wide range of religious groups, including satanists who are seeking to put their own statue next to a Ten Commandments monument on the Statehouse steps.

The Republican-controlled Legislature in this state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt authorized the privately funded Ten Commandments monument in 2009, and it was placed on the Capitol grounds last year despite criticism from legal experts who questioned its constitutionality. The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking its removal.

But the New York-based Satanic Temple saw an opportunity. It notified the state's Capitol Preservation Commission that it wants to donate a monument and plans to submit one of several possible designs this month, said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the temple.

"We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards," Greaves wrote in letter to state officials. "Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines."

Brady Henderson, legal director for ACLU Oklahoma, said if state officials allow one type of religious expression, they must allow alternative forms of expression, although he said a better solution might be to allow none at all on state property.

"We would prefer to see Oklahoma's government officials work to faithfully serve our communities and improve the lives of Oklahomans instead of erecting granite monuments to show us all how righteous they are," Henderson said.” full story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, December 8, 2013

China’s Pollution Problem Should Be a Warning To The World

 Good Day World!

In what should be a wake-up call for every country in the world, China’s increasing pollution is poisoning big city dwellers and hindering transportation.

Cities like Shanghai look like a science-fiction disaster movie in a not so distant future. It’s citizens look like ghosts slipping through the gray haze. Cars navigate through the 24-hour curtain of crud, like mindless beats in search of daylight.

Recently hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled in China's commercial hub of Shanghai as record levels of air pollution shrouded the city in smog, prompting authorities to issue the highest level of health warning.

The Shanghai government issued its severest health warning as the city's pollution index ranged between 23 times and 31 times the levels recommended by international health officials. It’s residents live in fear that the masks they have to wear outside are not protecting them.

Then there’s the political side to China’s pollution problem: air quality in cities is of increasing concern to its stability-obsessed leaders, who are anxious to douse potential unrest as more affluent citizens turn against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has polluted much of the country's air, water and soil.

I wonder if the rest of the world is taking note of China’s extreme pollution problems? If it isn’t, then it better quickly. Every day the pollution gets worse.

Related stories:

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….How cold is it where you live?

Top Photo

Good Day World!

Today the question is: how cold is it where you live?

Old Man Winter arrived early yesterday here in Medford, Oregon.

We had a fair amount of snow that grew in intensity throughout the day. By nightfall everything was covered in a white blanket.

Frozen roads are a concern, but other than that it’s not too bad here today. We still have our power. It’s in high 20s, which is not walking weather for me, so I’m skipping my usual activity and staying inside where it’s warm and cozy!

As for the rest of the United States… it’s really been ugly. Temperatures plummeted to 20 below in Wyoming, and threatened to knock out power across an ice-encrusted swath of the South and Midwest last night.

Winter storm warnings are covering parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. In California, farmers pumped water into the soil to keep it from freezing and used wind machines to blow mild air across the citrus crops, most of which is still on the vine.

For the West, a second punch is on the way today. A storm system is descending on the West Coast from Alaska, and dumped snow on coastal Oregon and Northern California on Friday. Snow is reported to be in the Sierra Nevada’s today.

Stay warm, unless you enjoy camping out in the winter, in which case, check this link out!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, December 6, 2013

Future Travel Destination: ‘Game of Thrones’ Theme Tour in Northern Ireland

  Good Day World!

 Here’s some interesting news for fans (include me) of the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

Because the fantasy series has been such a hit, bringing in millions of viewers, some creative folks are getting together to capitalize on the fact that the mythical land of Westeros is filmed in Northern Ireland.

Tourism officials in Northern Ireland say they are looking at ways to piggyback off the success of the HBO fantasy TV series.

Much of the "Game of Thrones" is filmed in Northern Ireland, which provides a backdrop of castles and rugged coastlines. Northern Ireland's Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced the tourism strategy recently but gave no details.

Foster said she wanted to attract more than 2 million visitors a year to Northern Ireland by 2016, compared to some 1.8 million people in 2013. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with. I can see castle tours replete with character’s in period costumes. How about you?  

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Message to GOP: Get over it…you’re not overturning a law

  Good Day World!

 Just to be clear…I think the Affordable Health Act was rolled out too soon for political reasons.

The main idea is to see that all Americans have health insurance, which I agree with. However, the original bill was watered down to get past the Republicans and has it’s flaws.

What remains is Obamacare – a convoluted combination of requirements for employers and individuals. After the great computer launch fiasco, White House officials – and President Obama -aren’t so quick to say everything is going to be okay soon.

The bottom line is we have to work with what we have. There’s still a long way to go before the hoped-for millions opt into the government program. It’s a time to move on…except if you’re one of the Kool-aid driven Republicans that still can’t accept the law.

When are these GOP political parrots going to get the idea? They can’t stop the law from going into effect on January 1st. Game over. It’s sad watching these wackaloons follow each other off the reality cliff like lemmings!

Believe it or not, the GOP took one last shot with the Supreme Court…again. Here’s what happened:

“The last, great hope of Republicans to see Obamacare killed outright is officially dead. They haven't been able to repeal it.

They ran a presidential campaign on ending it, and were overwhelmingly rejected. The Supreme Court decided not to overturn the entire law once already, and has now dismissed the last big case challenging the underpinnings of the law.

They're not going to kill it outright. They're officially out of opportunities. They're out of time legislatively, since they're going on the long recess on December 13.

They'll have to change strategies now, because after January 1 repeal means taking people's insurance away, something even most Republicans will recognize isn't politically smart. 

So now it's going to be more efforts to chip away, to refuse to allow any fixes, to create as many obstacles as possible at the state level for implementation. All of which they will do, because it's now their entire reason for being.” ORIGINALLY POSTED TO JOAN MCCARTER ON MON DEC 02, 2013 AT 10:28 AM PST.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Exposing NJ Gov Chris Christie – the Koch Brothers Kinda Guy!

Good Day World!

There was a time when I believed Chris Christie might be the rare Republican who could get bipartisan cooperation in Congress if he were elected president in 2016.

I think I was having flashbacks from the 60s, because I’ve since discovered he’s as bad (if not worse) than some of the other GOP wackaloons longing to take our country back to some mystical time.

I’ve been following his exploits with a wary eye lately and guess what? He’s the Son of the Koch Brothers in ideology. Christie was busy this summer telling everyone he was not running for the presidency in 2016 while sneaking around the country meeting with the likes of the Koch Brothers and hiding that from his constituents in New Jersey.

I think now is a good time to really highlight that Republican rascal. Let’s start here:  

Click for Part 1 of this two-part series: "Exclusive Audio: Inside The Koch Brothers Secret Seminar

Also read Gavin Aronsen's breakdown of top Koch donors: "Exclusive: The Koch Brothers' Million-Dollar Donor Club"

On the morning of June 26, Chris Christie, New Jersey's flamboyant, tough-talking Republican governor, appeared on NBC's Meet The Press. He then jetted out to Colorado, delivered a keynote speech at Charles and David Koch's ultra-exclusive seminar at the Ritz-Carlton resort near Vail, and returned home the same night, all without breathing a word about his adventure to his constituents.

In Part 1 of this report, we gave you the inside scoop on the Kochs' top-secret strategy meeting, where hundreds of wealthy patrons were urged to open their wallets for what Charles Koch described as "the mother of all wars"—the effort to unseat President Obama.

We also told you we'd obtained exclusive audio recordings from the event. And we promised to reveal the identity of the main keynote speaker.

With security extraordinary on the seminar's opening night—audio speakers around the periphery of the outdoor dining pavilion blasted out static to thwart eavesdroppers—David Koch introduced Gov. Christie as "my kind of guy." (The two had previously met in private at Koch's New York City office, he revealed.)

Before long, seminar attendees were roaring with laughter as Christie regaled them over dessert, telling them how, in his first weeks in office, he'd exercised extraordinary executive powers to impound billions of dollars in planned spending. ("The good news for all of you and for me," he said, "is that the governorship in New Jersey is the most powerful constitutional governorship in America.") Read the rest here from Mother Jones

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I’m Baaack! Let’s explore some ancient tunnels beneath Rome

Rome Good Day World!

 It’s good to be back again!

I had fun and some great adventures and experiences, but now it’s back to blogging!

Speaking of adventures, some lucky – and brave - geologists are venturing down into the bowels of The Eternal City – Rome.

(Photo: A collapsed quarry beneath Rome, caused by erosion and human activity above. These holes open suddenly over Rome's quarry network. Photo Sotterranei di Roma)

They’re out to make sure that the ancient city of Roman doesn’t disappear.

Here’s the story:

“Deep under the streets and buildings of Rome is a maze of tunnels and quarries that dates back to the very beginning of this ancient city.

Now, geologists are venturing beneath Rome to map these underground passageways, hoping to prevent modern structures from crumbling into the voids below.

In 2011, there were 44 incidents of streets or portions of structures collapsing into the quarries, a number that rose to 77 in 2012 and 83 to date in 2013.

“To predict and prevent such collapses, George Mason University geoscientists Giuseppina Kysar Mattietti and scientists from the Center for Speleoarchaeological Research (Sotterranei di Roma) are mapping high-risk areas of the quarry system.

The mapping is important, Kysar Mattietti told LiveScience, because through the years, Roman citizens have taken the patching of the quarry systems into their own hands. [Photos: The Secret Passageways of Hadrian's Villa]

"The most common way is to take some big plastic bags and fill them with cement and stick them in the holes," she said.

Lucky geology
Volcanism created the land Rome was built upon. These volcanic rocks, or tuff, were a boon to Rome's earliest architects, who soon learned the tuff was strong and easy to carve into building blocks. Lighter, less compacted volcanic ash was used as a main ingredient in mortar.

The first Romans were savvy, Kysar Mattietti said. The geoscientists quarried outside the city, and found that even when the suburbs began to encroach over the quarries, the ancient Romans knew to keep the tunnels narrow enough so that the ground above was still supported.

But two things worked against the long-term stability of the tunnels.” read the rest of the story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

The Republic of Florida? DeSantis Wants His Own Vigilante Force

In his campaign to run for president, Gov. DeSantis is pulling out all the stops to make Florida an independent country. His latest assault...