Royal Wedding is Over, Now on to Real Stuff! The Tornado Disasters!

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As the Royal Wedding was happening yesterday, and over 2 Billion people watched, many people were still coping with the Real Stuff like life.  Tornadoes in the South have taken over 330 lives and more are feared dead.  It is now the worst natural disaster since Katrina.  President Obama toured it and said he had never seen anything like it.

Seeing the devastation of a Tornado is unlike anything you will ever see in your life.  Once you see it, you never forget it.  I remember the boats going through houses from 20 miles away and canoes stuck in trees. Photos from 50 miles away located and put into an on-line photo album to help survivors put their memories together in Oklahoma. 

Tornadoes have not stopped to ask questions about whether you grew up on the right side of town, they take out the town.  The tornadoes take out whole schools, and city halls, fire departments and the ability to respond to your communities needs.  The Red Cross and Salvation Army will come and they will be the ones to aid the communities left in the wake of the disasters along with FEMA.

The Red Cross will issue vouchers for housing and food so people can sleep and eat in safety, if there are hotels to be found.  Now is the time to give to these two wonderful charities, because they will be the two into the middle of the disaster feeding the workers and going street by street handing out sandwiches and water to the workers.

Unless you have witnessed the Red Cross and the Salvation Army in a disaster, you do not know how great both of these two non-profits can be.  Do not forget these wonderful groups.  They are motivating volunteers from around the country to come into the disaster zone right now to be there and work to help the people affected.  I saw them during the Big One in May 1999, and I saw them after the Oklahoma City bombing.  If I had a lot of money, I would divide it between these two groups, because they really come to the front during a disaster.


Tornadoes Ravage South Bring Back Memories of Big One in Oklahoma

Center of the Del City May 3rd 1999 memorial M...

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As I have watched the news and seeing the devastation for the massive tornado that hit Alabama yesterday, and the many tornadoes that hit the south.   I am reminded of the big one that hit in Oklahoma that was on the ground for over 70 miles and damaged my mother’s house in Moore, Ok. It  was May 3, 1999, a day that changed many lives.

At the time, I lived in Edmond, and my daughter was in highschool preparing for a band concert that night, when the TV weatherman was telling everyone that a “big one” was coming and to get underground. 

Living in Tornado Alley, the TV weathermen are the best in the US and they can pinpoint the Tornadoes down to the streets.

The one that touched down in Chickasha stayed on the ground through the edge of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, and the edge of southwest Oklahoma City and tuned into Moore, then crossed I-35 and went into the edge of Del City, and then Midwest City and the edge of Tinker Air Force Base, the edge of Choctaw and into Stroud, Oklahoma before it finally lifted back up into the air.

It was massive and powerful and some estimate it had the power of a f.6 tornado which had winds over 300 miles per hour.  All I remember is there was no grass on the ground, or bark on the trees, or houses even left on the foundations, just concrete stairs going up to nothing.

Walking through the rubble that night to find my mother huddled together with her neighbors at the end of her cul-de-sac, was dangerous.  She was okay  but finding her was the beginning of a nightmare that lasted weeks.  She had survived because she escaped into an interior closet in her bedroom.  Her car was totaled, her roof was damaged by a 20 foot steel long bar from the shopping center on the corner of Santa Fe and 12th Street which was demolished that night.

I remember my mom saying her house was gone, but I told her it wasn’t, it was still there, but the houses on the next street were gone, I had just seen the steps left on those.  My mother was never the same after that storm, it was the beginning of her decline and one that lasted 10 years until her death.  I will always blame the trauma that she went through all alone in that closet with the noise of things breaking all around her. 

My mother was a faith-filled woman and she had her bible and her crucifix with her in the closet and she had closed the door.  She was also right across from the half-bath in her bedroom.  She had closed that door to the half-bath because it had a small window.  All of the windows were broken on my mom’s house, glass was blasted into her carpet and furniture and everything had to be replaced.  But closing the half-bath door saved my mother’s life. The steel beam that traveled from the garage through the ceiling of the house into my mother’s bedroom, stopped at that half-bath door.  Another few inches and she would have been killed.

Many people died that night in the Killer Tornado that hit Oklahoma, but my mother survived.  My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones in the South and their homes.  Homes can be rebuilt, but the trauma and the memories will always be there.

Is Reality TV Teaching Teens Wrong Social Manners?

First let me say, I do not watch very much reality TV.   Deadliest Catch is one of my favorites because those guys risk their lives in the Alaskan waters to catch fish and crab to feed us.  I love watching the interaction of the boat captains with their crew and I do like Celebrity Apprentice because it is about business and difficult tasks with celebrities. 

But that’s it for me, I do not watch anything on MTV like the Teen Mom series, or the Bravo series with the Real Housewives, or that Jersey Shore program because many of these shows do not show good programming for our children.  Fighting by adults, drinking and cussing and pulling of hair and rolling around on the floor doesn’t do anything in the real world of bringing home a paycheck.

Last night on Dr. Drew Pinsky on HLN network, they discussed if many of these reality shows are teaching Teens how to be violent and insensitive to each other?  Wow what a bomb shell, when you consider that a lot of reality is scripted.  Yes it is scripted by the producers it doesn’t just happen in front of the cameras, they are told to stage some of what is shown.

Now yes, some of it does get out of hand, and some of the shows have cast people with mental issues that should never have been on the shows to begin with, and the shows have booted these people off or canceled the show.  But teens don’t know the difference.  Teens are getting the message that this is the way to behave with each other and be cruel to one another.

We are seeing more teen suicides then ever before in our history, and there must be a cause for this.  Violence is up among teens and bullying is up from teens against each other. 

When I was growing up, television shows taught moral lessons, they did not show people beating up on each other and falling down drunk and getting arrested and then being rewarded millions of dollars for it with a book deal.  We did not reward bad behavior, we had consequences for bad behavior.

Just look at Lindsey Lohan who is back on the streets after spending a few hours in jail and starting her community service while she appeals her sentence. Then there she is on late night TV saying yes, I’m going to star in a movie, Why???  She is still facing jail, and why would a producer want to wait for her while she may serve time in jail???

There are other brilliant actresses in Hollywood who do not have as many problems as Lindsey and they could use the work.  Many are waiting on tables in Toluca Lake and Burbank waiting for their big break, hoping for that audition.

Yes it does seem that our society is teaching teens wrong messages, and we do need to change these behaviors, but when are we going to do it, and how?

The LA Dodgers & The Fans

LOS ANGELES (April 14, 2009) Sailors and Marin...

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The LA Dodgers have been taken over by the Baseball Commissioner and a new manager has been appointed from Texas.  Frank McCourt is on his way to New York to plead his case that he has just cut a deal with Fox News for several years that will allow him to meet his salary. 

Just if you haven’t been following this situation, McCourt the current owner, had to borrow $30 million to make the team payroll. Not a good deal, and one that tipped the Baseball Commissioner’s hand that there was trouble in Dodger Town.

  Of course if you don’t live in LA, we have watched the McCourt Divorce Saga play out on the nightly news.  The once golden couple of baseball are in dispute about who owns the Dodgers and it is in contention in their divorce and a small piece of paper that was not put together correctly during one of the couple’s negotiations.

But it is the LA Dodgers and the fans who are losing and this was one of the greatest teams in baseball.  My brothers and I used to collect Dodger baseball cards for all the greats when we were growing up, and one of my first experiences when I visited LA was going to a Dodger game. 

 But all the glitter has been lost over the last several years with rumors of fights and unsafe conditions at the park.  With the recent beating of a San Francisco Giants Fan on Opening Day, it was the last blow for Dodger fans , the LAPD and the Baseball Commissioner.

McCourt had reduced uniformed LAPD officers and put in security officers in blue t-shirts and for some reason, he thought fans were going to be more accepting of blue t-shirts and not uniformed officers.  I want to know I’m safe, I like to see an officer in uniform it gives an air of authority, something that was sorely needed at Dodger stadium. 

Attendance started falling at the games, and the Dodgers couldn’t even give tickets away.  I remember Dodge salespeople calling around and even making appearances in people’s offices offering free tickets just to come out to the games.  That didn’t entice any of us to go, because security was not good.  Perception is 90 percent reality and the Perception was that Dodger stadium was not safe, so McCourt didn’t get the message until this year on opening day.

I hope that a new owner can be found for the Dodgers and if it is the fans then so be it.  But we must keep the public area safe for families to attend again and make it a fun place to go once again.

Celebrating a Nuclear Disaster 25 Years Later

Never forget Chernobyl

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We are marking 25 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  What have we learned?  I remember the announcement the Nuclear disaster had happened in Russia 25 years ago.  No one knew exactly how bad it would be, but that it was the worst disaster at a nuclear power plant.

Marking this disaster yesterday, we have Japan going through a similar crisis and their water, milk and food supply tainted. Farmers protested yesterday in Japan demanding that they be compensated for their loss. 

 While in Chernobyl, we saw people giving prayers for the dead.  I think, we will see prayers for the dead in Japan after the clearing of the bodies from the area around the plant, but it will be awhile until everyone is accounted for and the missing presumed dead.

Chernobyl showed us that it isn’t safe to live around a nuclear power plant, and yet we have the same issue happening in Japan.  People having to leave their homes because of the nuclear contamination.  Radiation in rain water has been detected throughout the U.S., but will we know the extent of the danger?

What will happen in 10 years, more cases of cancer will begin to show up and clusters will develop around the nuclear power plant area, and then we will know the true toll of this crisis.  It is estimated by some experts that almost one million people may have died from radiation exposure to Chernobyl over the years.  How do they really know?

I remember my paper in college on nuclear safety and how my instructor told me it was a safe method to generate power, and yet while I was doing my research, I could not find experts that agreed on that topic.  Then just a few years later, we had the Chernobyl accident.  I think my paper’s thesis was correct.  You don’t have any control over nuclear power, and it isn’t safe.

The life around the Chernobyl plant was portrayed in an article in the Los Angeles Times in  this past weekend’s edition, and it spoke about villagers committing suicide because they have no way out.  They are dying around the plant and they see no way to escape its death grip so they take their own lives.  What a sad day in our humanity to not have a solution except suicide.

The beautiful island of Japan may become similar if steps are not taken to solve this crisis now and international think tanks must look at solutions for these problems. Solar, wind and geothermal power must be considered more now than ever before.  Utilizing those resources of Mother Nature that are not harmful, but that we can actually use to sustain ourselves in a better environment.

We must learn from these disasters before we all become part of the disaster itself.

Japan Army Going In to Recover Victims – Fundraisers Going on For The People!

Internationally recognized symbol.

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Wearing special hazard suits, the Japanese Army is now going into the area surrounding the Nuclear Power Plant to retrieve victims from the Earthquake and tsunami. 

 I can’t imagine this task, looking for bodies under all the debris.  There is danger just going into the area for any length of time, due to possible radiation and disease from what is there in the wreckage.

With all the sharp debris around, these suits could be damaged easily and then the man inside is exposed to whatever has bred in the area.  After the tsunami in Southeast Asia, doctors reported that many people died from infections from the exposure to the sea water to wounds and the bacteria in the water.

Of course this job must be done, but it is not one that doesn’t have risks for anyone doing it.  The family members who could leave Japan have done so and gone to be with relatives in other countries.

Let us all hope that Japan can recover after this terrible crisis.  The nuclear accident not withstanding the other tragedies, Japan has had enough and it is time for their recovery.

People all over Los Angeles are doing fund-raisers for the Japanese people.  I think the human spirit of giving back to each other is one of the finest examples of humanity. 

One of the local Hispanic groups is having a mixer at a hotel and the entrance fee is being donated to the fundraiser.  How clever is that?  A local Cuban bakery which has three locations donated profits of over $12,000 to  help the Japanese people.

We might not be able to help the Japanese Army find the victims, but we can help them rebuild their lives and new housing for their people.  “There but for the Grace of God, go I”, that was one of my mother’s favorite sayings when she wanted to remind us that each of us could be walking in their shoes but it was the Grace of God that put us in a different place on that day.

By joining together and thinking of ways to raise money for the Japanese people, we might lessen our own burdens for a little while.

Smithsonian Gift Shops Don’t Sell Made In America Items?

Aerial view of the National Museum of American...

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Yes, that’s right our National Museum in Washington D. C. sells items depicting our American presidents with the stamp, “Made in China” on the bottom.  How does that make you feel as millions of Americans are out of work in this country?

The National Museum of American History with miniature statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and American toy soldiers have stamped on the bottom, “Made in China”, this is in Today’s Los Angeles Times in The Nation section and reported on by Julie Mianecki.  

However this  is not the first time this has been brought up to the American Public.  ABC did a series a few months back on made in America and this same problem was raised then.

 Rep. Nick J. Rahall Ii (D. W. Va.) has introduced a bill that would require all Smithsonian’s 30 stores to sell items made in the USA.  I say Yea, what a novel way to put Americans back to work, and requiring the museum to buy items from American manufacturers, or they will lose Federal funding.

So the Smithsonian is balking and saying some items are not manufactured in the USA anymore, well that might create a new business if we all knew that there was someone who needed a product, then one could be created if a ready market was there.  That is the fundamental basic need of business.

I think anyone who receives Federal money should buy American and use only American verified workers.  No one who receives Federal dollars for any project should be able to  put anyone who is not eligible to work in the USA on the payroll. 

 This would put many Americans back to work and cut many illegals who have taken jobs away from Americans on payrolls that receive Federal dollars.   Yes there is a program called E-verify that many employers are supposed to use, but for some reason, when the Obama Administration was asked to carry out this, they have not signed on all the way.  Importing foreign goods, just like foreign workers hurts our economy.  We need to put the heat to our Congressmen and demand that more jobs are created for eligible Americans and verified workers  who are here legally.