I don't turn down free whiskey.
You should know this about me.
Off we go. Gulp.
Miss America is a terrorist, but we aren't racist
Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America Sunday night. She was born outside of Syracuse, New York, studied brain behavior and cognitive science at the University of Michigan and hopes to be a doctor like her father. She danced for her talent and looks amazing in an evening gown.
She's also of Indian descent.
|Michael Loccisano, Getty Images|
Never mind that Miss Kansas started drama all her own because she became the first contestant to open display tattoos during the competition. The traditional pageant community isn't totally a huge fan of hers.
Nothing like a non-white winner of a beauty pageant to bring out the worst racists in the country. Just don't call them racist, because they totally aren't. 'Murica.
Hunger in the name of fraud protection
Tomorrow, the House will vote on The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act. Bill proponents want to cut $40 billion dollars from the program, which would strip somewhere between 4-6 million people of their benefits. House conservatives claim that the bill will only affect able-bodied adults, but the actual text of the bill has not been released, so no one knows for sure.
The SNAP program historically has been tied to the Farm Bill, until that connected was severed earlier this year. The logic historically went a little like this...if we are going to help the farmers make food, we'll help the people who can't eat at the same time...helping both ends of the spectrum. Until now. SNAP is left to defend itself in a hostile environment where people believe that the system is filled with fraud and waste.
Is there fraud in the use of food stamps? Sure. There is fraud in anything, but that isn't a reason to force millions of people to starve.
My challenge to you all is this.
Go to the grocery store. Watch. See the woman who has to pay with the paper slips at the register. The one that the checker has to call over a manager to help. The one who fidgets in place, who fights back tears of anger and frustration at a system that resents the fact she is hungry in the first place, then accuses her of gaming it. She just wants to eat. She just wants to feed her kids.
This month is also Childhood Hunger Awareness month. I happen to think that awareness is great and all, but people are hungry all year. Kids are hungry all year. There are kids in your area right now who don't have enough to eat. Maybe their parents get help, maybe they don't qualify as it is, maybe they are too damned ashamed to ask.
There is something fundamentally wrong with a country that has the means to wage billion dollar wars overseas, that doesn't tax some of it's largest corporations at all, but willingly lets hungry people starve. Just feed the people.
Flooded Wells, Ruptured Pipelines, and it's all okay
I live in Northern Colorado. In a city that banned fracking. Surrounded by counties that want to secede from the state because they don't want oil and gas drilling restrictions. You don't have to look hard to find drill sites around here, just outside the city boundaries. New ones pop up all the time, almost overnight it seems. They get in, they frack the area, pull the natural gas out of the ground, and leave. In many ways, it's the strip mining of this decade, it just happens underground where we can't see it. It's a fast way to extract natural resources, and oil and gas companies are pushing pretty hard in the area.
The commercials run on television here all the time.
They claim it's safe, but won't tell anyone what chemicals they are using. They tell us that the wells are sufficiently walled so that there won't be contamination of ground water, but most of them are so new that no one really knows what will happen down the road.
In addition to fracking, this is a fairly heavily drilled area using more traditional methods as well.
I also live in an area that is experiencing a tremendous amount of flooding right now. Many of those drilling sites are underwater. There are retention tanks on their sides. Wells are inundated with water.
And no one is talking about it.
No one is talking about it because everyone is scared to death of the oil and gas folks. They have a lot of money, and a lot of money buys a lot of influence. The elected officials aren't saying much, even when pressed, and honestly it's hard to blame them. Two elected officials were just recalled last week for passing gun control legislation.
After a few days of people taking pictures like these ones, some of the local news media is picking up the story. I shook my head though when they said last night that all the industry officials are certain that the wells are safe and that there is no contamination. Of course the industry officials are going to say that. I'm sure that they are hoping everything is contained. Maybe it is (doubtful), but what if it isn't?
The images sure seems to suggest otherwise, and many people near wells say that there is fluid leaking into the flood waters. At least one pipeline has ruptured already.
We're all supposed to believe that everything will be okay, when the truth is that no one really has any idea how much damage has been done.
No one here was prepared for a flood of this magnitude. Including the industry. The main concern for contamination is the leaks into the floodwaters themselves, as well as the silt being left behind. It will likely be a very long time before we have a full picture of the environmental impact, if we ever actually get a full picture.
On that note, I may lose some of my First Amendment protection soon...
I've been told more than once that some of my fans only hear about things that happen because I write about them. I cover many issues that the main stream media won't touch, but I'm not employed by any newspaper or magazine or news site.
I'm just a blogger.
Which is great, in many ways, to be honest. I'm not beholden to anyone. I can write whatever stories I want. I can be objective. I don't have to worry about getting fired for writing things that are controversial.
That's also exactly what is wrong with being a blogger. That's exactly why it is perceived as a threat.
The Senate is working on legislation to protect journalists....or so they say. The bill would shield reporters from having to divulge their sources (and supposedly would prevent intrusions like occurred with the AP phone records being infiltrated), but only if they are "real" journalists.
Bloggers aren't in that category unless employed by some type of news gathering organization.
The bill only exists because the current administration overreached with the AP, and now it's being used to draw a line in the sand about who is protected and who isn't. They say that bloggers will still retain the freedom of speech, but not the freedom of the press....not that the press has even retained that as of late.
I guess exposing stories that aren't getting enough coverage isn't legitimate enough for me to deserve protection.
I'll keep doing what I'm doing if you keep reading.