Monday, March 21, 2011

Safety Net Missing

I was contacted today by a friend who was looking for help for yet another person. It seems that she has lost the feeling in her legs and can't walk without assistance. She is at this point disabled, yet can't get medical help. On the one hand Medicaid won't help because being crippled is not life threatening.

Social Security Disability won't help because she hasn't been diagnosed. An MRI, I am told would cost an estimated $3000. Did I mention she is broke? Obviously something is wrong with the system if a disabled person cannot get the diagnostic assistance that would either help her get back to normal or then be able to get SS.

If anyone out there knows how we can get her into an xray, MRI or CT scan please e-mail me. I do not at this time have permission to name this woman, except to say nobody should slip through the cracks like this.

LATE NEWS: Alas, but L. Yvonne Wallis was transported to Kootenai Medical center again at about 8:00pm Monday night. She was only partially conscious and incoherent.With a head injury such as she had, no chances can be taken. Please wish her well in what ever form you choose.
3/22: I spoke with her Grandson who says she may have had a stroke, but they are keeping her for another day at least.
3/23: It now appears that Yvonne had a seizure, most likely an after effect of her hammer attack. Those tend to be treated as you would epilepsy.

3/25: Yvonne is home and doing well. Her brain injury apparently brought on an epileptic seizure. She is on appropriate medication and should do better soon.

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Exciting Week

In this, the dog days of winter, when we get teased by moderating weather only to get snowed on, it would normally be a very boring time. The two major restaurants are still closed here in Bayview, Idaho, waiting one would suppose for warmer weather and perhaps a tourist or two.

That would be the case if it weren't for Japan with a gigantic earthquake, an enormous tsunami and then topped off by the failure of six nuclear reactors. Built on the beach where active earthquakes are common, the authorities in the area apparently didn't take into consideration the effect of a tsunami or even a typhoon when they built the reactor park. None of the plants were really damaged by the quake, since stringent building codes built in a strong resistance to quakes. The loss of the backup generators which then caused water normally pumped into the cooling system to cease operating was the death knell. Stay tuned.

Now, predictably, CNN is huffing and puffing once again about reactors in the US. The largest of these issues is that the stored used fuel rods are stored on site, just as they are in Japan. Unfortunately, what they are not saying is that Obama promised Senate Majority Leader, Reid that he would close down the multi-million dollar storage facility cored deeply into the Nevada mountains. He kept that promise, wasting millions spent on the project which was close to ready for use and endangering those that live near these open storage facilities that were never intended to other than temporary use. The chickens, as they say are coming home to roost, Mr. President.

Now we have essentially declared war on Libya. President Obama indicated today that no ground troops would be landed. He didn't say whether Italians,the French or both might take care of that, plus with Iraq and Afghanistan active, we don't have the ground troops except and this is a big except, the MEU with 20,000 marines and a bunch of tanks not to mention a helicopter carrier that can control a battlefield from the air, destroying the tanks and tank carriers heading east toward Benghazi and Tobruk and the Egyptian border.

This week, except for those that have lost the roof over their heads and perhaps aren't eating regularly, our minds will be diverted toward these disaster areas. One caused by nature, the other by man. The Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times," comes to mind. Think Spring.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prevailing Winds

In what the authorities call an unlikely event, here is a picture of the upper level winds from Japan and the site of the problem nuclear reactors, as it may apply to us in the future. It appears that the critical difference between these plants ans Chernobyl, is the latter spewed radioactivity far into the stratosphere, but even in that case it only affected Scandanavia, a short distane away.

Still, this is uncharted territory with a possible 6 reactors going into total meltdown. At the very least, it would seem probably that Japan is going to lose the use of a very large area of the north, witch will most likely become a wasteland such as exists in the Ukraine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Train vs Tornado

This a clip that was e-mailed to me some time back. I don't know where this happened, nor when. Freight trains with less crew than in the past, rely on TV cameras to watch both forward and back over the top of the train. This clip shows the rear facing camera when this happened...

Monday, March 14, 2011


While many are battling over education reform and or union issues, that isn't the major issue of the day. It isn't Japan nor is it Libya. What we are facing is the potential of major starvation right here in our own state and county.

I had an occasion to visit our local food bank. ABC food bank located in Athol serves Athol, Bayview and Careywood, ergo, "ABC." I saw food boxes that were given out in better times and I saw what was available today. The volunteers were apologetic, as if it were their fault they couldn't give more. These dedicated volunteers are beside themselves with sadness as they get to hear every sad and or tragic story on a daily basis.

Many more, perhaps 200% or more are having trouble feeding their families. Most have children, some older people that can't help themselves. I urge all of you that can, donate selflessly to the food bank of your choice. The inventories are drawn down to the point it is feared the doors may close.

The state of Idaho social services are no better off. One such service, weatherization, is two years behind on home inspections and weather related repairs. Energy Assistance the same. One recipient last year received a check for $250. This year with an equal circumstance, he got $77.00.

We are teetering on the edge of an abyss that hasn't been seen since the 1930's. Helping one's neighbor is not any longer for others, it's for you as well. Please help. There are food banks in most of our areas. A major distribution point is in the industrial park at Coeur d'Alene. Athol can be reached through the city hall at 208-683-2101. If you live too far away to deliver food, please send them a check.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pure Coincidence

When I announced I was going to attempt to write the great American novel, I never dreamed that a preview of coming attractions would occur. You see,my story line is about a natural disaster that starts with a gigantic earthquake, followed by an enormous amount of social and geographical disruption. I won't go into the story line, as you might not buy my book.

Suffice it to say, the Japanese disaster has pretty much made my efforts bush league, but then truth is always stranger than fiction.

My observation that I have about the Japanese disaster is the crappy news coverage. Rather than look for new angles, side stories that hadn't been told before, the CNN network shows titillating pictures of ships high and dry perched upon other obstacles, but without explanation. Hours of breaking news snowing pictures that are many hours old. It reminds me of the ship that went aground off the Oregon coast a few years ago. Northwest Cable news carried the "Breaking news" caption for days after it was old news. One wonders how long the public will put up with news folding itself into show business, abandoning objectivity.

Other gripes that I have is the usual. with an emergency at one and perhaps two nuclear power plants, due to water being shut off and power failure, accompanied by the flooding wiping out their emergency generators, CNN tended to ignore the experts that have downplayed the seriousness of these situations in favor of more bombastic anti-establishment experts that are predicting doom.

When, if ever will news outlets just tell the news. Bring back Walter Cronkite. At least he verified and then cleansed the news reporting of slant.

Yes, the Japanese experience will reverberate throughout the world for years to come in many ways. Redistribution of manufacturing, oil consumption and in many other ways. What is not being featured, other than in brief glimpses, is the countries that are on the way to rescue that nation. Even China which doesn't count Japan among it's friends is sending help.

Military forces are in some cases, combining so that more helicopters can be on the scene rescuing trapped people. Water must be restored or many others will die. Food can be imported but by air, which is not even close to what shipping can do.

The low lying rice fields were where the bulk of the Tsunami hit and will be gone for many years due to salt water contamination. As an aside, and somewhat lacking in sympathy, the US could gain greatly in grain imports while buying manufactured products. At last, free trade that is on an equal basis, tit for tat.

Oh and I almost forgot. How can anyone watch a basketball game that was more dramatic than the championship between Arizona and UW. Hey, if it couldn't be our Cougs, then why not root for our state, instead. Go Huskies.

Monday, March 07, 2011

My Book

When I announced the end of my reporting gig with the Spokesman-Review last December, several people, including some I would have never guessed, suggested I try my hand at writing a book. I laughed it off as a goal too far, and talent too limited.

Then the idea started buzzing around in my head. (Plenty of empty room there) I couldn't let it go. A fictional account of a local natural disaster started to take form in my imagination. I figure using natural surroundings and plausible circumstances, well, at least they were plausible to me, I could do a novel. The nice thing about a fictional work is that the research isn't as hard, since the facts don't have to be facts.

For weeks now, this plot has rattled around in my mind, changing daily. Finally I decided that if I was going to do this, I had better get started. With my 73rd birthday looming in the near future, (March 23)and understanding from successful authors that a book sometimes takes two to three years, that I had better get started, as I might not have that much time to waste.

This project may not be completed, or I might decide it just isn't within my meager talents. Still, an old fart has to do something besides hang out at the local watering holes, watching my liver become toast.

This week-end I sat down and put to paper ... well actually to screen, a first chapter. I now realize why writing takes so long. After reviewing the first start, I realized that I had to go back and re-figure what I was doing. Still, I did start, and now I'm kind of excited about developing the rest of the story. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

US Government Supports Mosques

It is accepted that our constitution forbids the establishment and or support of any religion. Our forefathers, having the recent experience of the Church of England as the official religion, specifically forbade that. From that policy, we have the right to worship any religion, or none at all.

Currently, a television station back east, WSB, reports that part of our foreign aid is being spent on repairs of mosques in the middle east. No mention of support for Christian or Jewish facilities was mentioned. See below for the full story:

Copy and paste this:

I find this outrageous considering many of these mosques are hotbeds of anti-Americans, as well as supporters of violence and terrorism.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Yvonne Wallis

A couple of weeks ago Yvonne was rushed to the hospital. It turned out it was an attack of a flu bug. One that apparently was missed in the vaccination she received last fall. She came home after a day, but today finds her back with pneumonia. I don't know how serious this is, but I thought I'd post this for those that wish to think good wishes or prayer for her recovery.