The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, August 26, 2011

Do you want the berms or don't you?

Work has begun on the Norfolk Southern Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility near McCalla. One local resident (who was admittedly against the facility) is sounding alarm bells because "large equipment" is mesmerizing the kids on the playground. Pat Breeden is the PTA president for McAdory Elementary School, and she says the "dust, noise, traffic and distractions" are "harming the children."

On a radio talk show the other day she said children (more than one) are coming home with "nosebleeds" and respiratory problems.

If you remember, in the plans we saw a berm that would be landscaped and have fencing to hide the facility and cut down on noise.

However, current plans include barriers or earthen berms, which will provide a variety of mitigation benefits including aesthetic improvements, security, and noise suppression, along much of the access road and around part of the Automatic Gate System (AGS) area. These barriers or landscaped berms, combined with existing vegetation and the distance between the road and residents in the area are expected to reduce sounds from the trucks to near ambient levels for those residents.

Norolk Southern is not Disney. They cannot wave a magic wand and create the berms. Earth must be moved. This is August. It's 100 degrees. The ground is dry. Dust is going to fly.

Breeden is quoted in the Birmingham News, "reports from children being so curious that during P. E. when walking or running the track they stop and stare at the large equipment. Again, we were very concerned about the distractions and proximity in the playground and how it could and does affect the students."

The kids need to get out more. They apparently have never seen large equipment.

What a teaching opportunity this could be. Kids, especially the boys, love big yellow construction equipment and this could put their pretend play with Tonka toys into reality!

The classes could study methods of transportation and how our nations goods are moved. Some history could be included regarding trains and how they have progressed from steam engines to modern diesels. This is a cool video of a steam engine barking up a hill.

The importance of the environmental study that was completed could be taught in science class. Here is an example of elementary kids studying the environment. It would be so easy to incorporate the environmental work leading up to the railroad hub into an elementary school project.

That is how it could be.

Instead, the kids are hearing (and they do hear and know what goes on) that Norfolk Southern is evil and causing sickness and dirtyness. How sad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

End of the Bessemer!

In today's mail was a flier touting "End of World Prophesies" Coming to Bessemer. There is a picture of a winged lion and a five headed cheetah with wings a dragon and bear on the cover.

The event will be at the Bessemer Civic Center this weekend! There are daily meetings for 9 days.

"Beast from the bottomless pit"

"When a woman will rule" (this could actually be true if Michele Bachmann wins the presidency).

"The rise of the beast with the number 666"

"Born Half Dead"

"Prophecy of the Sundial"

OMG. I just looked at the back of the flier; this actually continues into September.

I want to know where in the bible it says a five headed cheetah with wings will usher in the end times.

What a crock.

I think I will just continue to live my life for good things, helping others, loving my neighbor, and take it as it comes. Nothing to get all hyped up about.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rick Perry!!!

All excited about Rick Perry? Here in Alabama he created a stir when he breezed in and made a speech and then won the straw pole for the state Republicans.

Of course, in many cases, serpent can come in, make a fancy presentation, and win over the hearts and minds. Look what happened in the Garden of Eden.

And you may not recognize him as such, but Rick Perry is a serpent as well. No offense to my slithering friends (I sort of like snakes), but lets look at some facts.

He has a horrible record on the environment, as this Washington Post article shows us.

He "prays daily" for the EPA to fail, and has filed a lawsuit against them. He (and many Republicans) don't give a rat's hiney about the environment. Not if it interferes with drilling and spilling. I mean, he did make the claim that the Gulf oil spill was "an act of God." In other words, hating the Environmental Protection Agency, and claiming that a man made disaster is an act of God gives license to call anything that happens an act of God and release his or his cronies from responsibility of what might happen under their leadership.

I'll highlight a few other things here that Perry might not be so proud of, from Think Progress.

Rick Perry wants to do away with Medicaid and Social Security, or at least let states drop out of the social programs.

Rick Perry wants to do away with Federal Income Tax (from his book).

Rick Perry cut child services by $10 billion even though 1 in 4 Texas children lives in poverty.

Rick Perry wants to re-criminalize sodomy and advocated keeping the law on the Texas books even after the US Supreme Court ("nine oligarchs in robes") struck it down.

Rick Perry is a (this is where the slithering comes in) hypocrite that accepted billions of dollars in Federal stimulus money to balance the budget in Texas and fund highway projects, while criticizing the recovery program, saying that "we (Texas) can take care of ourselves." Sneaky snake.

Rick Perry says Texas might need to secede from the Union.

Rick Perry lies (more snake like activity) saying that Texas has "the best health care in the country." Texas also has the nation's highest uninsured rate. More than 25% of Texans lack health insurance, as opposed to a national average of 15.4%. Is that the "best health care?"

Rick Perry has that "I'm better than you" type of handshake/greeting and smirk, that is too, too much reminiscent of George W. Bush.

Ugh! Texas smug.

But listen, Perry and several of the other Republican candidates for president want to turn our country into a theocracy, but the majority of Americans recognize the separation of church and state. Perry even believes that God has "anointed him" to run (and if he wins, God will have anointed him President too, I'm sure).

Let's hope the majority of Americans also recognize the danger of electing this man as president.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Repealing Obamacare

I am so tired of hearing the phrase "repeal Obamacare." Every Republican presidential candidate seems to be stuck on this phrase.

Turning back the clock on health care reform will reverse the progress made regarding insuring kids who were previously denied insurance and other advances. I made a little list of some of the ways healthcare reform has benefited the people of Alabama. Most of the information comes from here.

The Department of Health and Human Services has so far awarded $16.7 million in grants to improve healthcare in our state.

57,533 Medicare part D rebate checks ($250) have been issued to close the donut hole coverage gap. Beneficiaries this year are receiving a 50% discount on their brand name prescription drugs.

77 uninsured Alabamians have enrolled in the pre-existing condition plan that provides a health coverage option for consumers who have been uninsured for at least six months, have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of their health condition. In Alabama, this plan in managed by the Feds (because we didn't do it).

$1 million is being spent to crackdown on unreasonable insurance premium increases. You can read more about that here.

Another $1 million is being used to plan for a Health Insurance Exchange, and Alabama is working on this.

40 employers in Alabama have enrolled in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program that provides financial relief to businesses, schools, state and local governments, and non-profits to help retirees and their families continue insurance coverage. So far these entities have enrolled.

  • Alabama Aircraft Industries, Inc- Birmingham
  • Alabama West Florida Conference*
  • American Cast Iron Pipe Company
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
  • City of Dothan, Alabama
  • City of Huntsville General Activities
  • City of Huntsville Utilities
  • City of Mobile, Alabama
  • City of Montgomery
  • City of Phenix City
  • City of Tuscaloosa
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc.
  • Council of the City of Anniston*
  • DCH Healthcare Authority
  • Decatur Utilities
  • Drummond Company, Inc.
  • Electric Cooperative Voluntary Employees Benefit A
  • Energen Corporation
  • IBEW-NECA Local 505 Health Plan
  • Jefferson County Commission
  • Jim Walter Resources, Inc.
  • Legacy Vulcan Corp.
  • Local 903 IBEW Health and Welfare Plan
  • Mechanical Contractors - U. A. Local 119 Welfare Plan
  • Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc.
  • Mobile County Commission
  • Montgomery County Commission
  • National Cement Co of Alabama
  • Pemco World Air Services
  • Phifer, Incorporated
  • PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
  • Public Education Employees' Health Insurance Plan
  • Regions Financial Corporation
  • Sheetmetal Workers Local 441 Health & Welfare Plan
  • State Employees' Insurance Board
  • The City of Auburn, Alabama, A Municipal Corporation
  • The Water Works Board of the City of Birmingham
  • The Westervelt Company
  • Tombigbee Healthcare Authority
  • Tuscaloosa County Office of Treasurer
  • Walter Energy, Inc.
  • Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board of the City of Montgomery AL

$3.7 million in Therapeutic Discovery Project Program Tax Credits and Grants to find new therapies and finding cures for cancer and such. Here is a list of the grants and credits in Alabama. Look at these lists, and think of all the jobs that would be lost if Obamacare were overturned. And the research that would not be done.

$3.92 million in grants from the Prevention and Public Health fund, including $3,356,505 for community and clinical prevention activities, which will help Alabama and its partners prevent and manage costly conditions (and we have plenty of these) and $561,795 to support public health infrastructure. These grants strengthen state and local capacity to meet 21st century public health challenges.

$1.5 million for maternal, infant and early childhood home visitation programs.

$500,000 for medicare improvements for patients and providers.

$5.1 million for capital development improvements in Health Centers.

This is a partial list, but from it you can see that repealing Obamacare would cost our state millions of dollars, and decrease the opportunities to improve the health of our residents. It would also cost thousands of jobs, so GOP, keep your hands off my Obamacare!