Monday, August 30, 2004
More Conference Round-up
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Piedmont Blogger Conference
In the second session the discussion changed to the blogging community and journalism. A lot of people had different views on what constitutes being a journalist, and if a blogger can be considered a journalist. Issues of libel and legalities came up. Very interesting stuff. The third session was a free form discussion on community, culture and art.
I didn't know what was going to happen when I arrived this morning. I know this conference was an overall success. The coolest part of it all was putting names and faces together. I also met a lot of cool people. Kudos to all involved. If you didn't show or couldn't make it, you missed a hell of an event.
Friday, August 27, 2004
Michael Moore Backs Up The Facts
I want to know how you all feel about the movie. Please do not comment if you have not seen the film, because you have no basis for opinion if you have not watched the film.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Swift Boat Battle Heats Up
I hope Mel didn't screw us with this movie. Side of Apocalypse please.
Monday, August 23, 2004
Training Fires(Controlled Burns)
This morning, I sat down with Chief Ricky W. Boykin, of the Summerfield Fire Dept. At first, when I called on Friday, he seemed a bit hesitant to want to answer questions. He said he did not answer questions on the phone and wanted to talk in person. So we set up an appointment. It turns out, he was very informative and a great guy to boot. I asked what a controlled burn is. He told me, "It is actually called a training fire. A controlled burn is when we use tree limbs, etc.. These exercises are used to train our firefighters." The Summerfield Fire Dept. happens to be partly volunteer and partly enlisted firefighters. "What about regulations?", I asked. Chief Boykin answered, "Oh my, there are a ton of regulations that we have to obey to conduct a training fire. We need to obtain permits, check the properties asbestos levels, file an application with the state for demolition, check the ozone levels, and make sure that the area is not at an Orange level for dryness. That is just to name a few." I brought up public safety and signs. To which he responded, "We normally do put up signs to let the public know. We did not at that particular burn. We also have to try to keep the site free of citizens for their own safety. We don't like to draw too much attention." Signs and flashing lights could cause a bunch of people to stop and look, or put them in harms way. My concern was that a bunch of people could call 911 and tie up the lines. A simple sign or visible emergency vehicle could avoid that situation. People could get out and run to help, maybe try to be a hero. Chief Boykin tells me, "We wouldn't let them even get close." As far as the 911 calls, Chief Boykin said, "We have to notify emergency management about the training fire. They set up our communications on the site. Also, so they will know what is going on, in case people call in the fire." He invited my family and I to come check out a training fire in September. I will definitely go and watch.
I have to say, at first, I was pretty up in arms about there not being any warnings for the public. After I sat down with Chief Boykin, I was put at ease. I hope this story can better inform the public on what a training fire is, and that you should not panic if the real heroes are on the job.
Before 9/11, I really didn't appreciate firefighters and police officers. I was, in fact, living in the New York City area during that horrid event. Many great men lost their lives trying to help others they didn't even know. What an unselfish bunch of men and women. Every time I see photos or video of the firefighters from NY, covered in ash, or with their heads hung in disbelief, I well up and appreciate them a little more. Today, I appreciate our local firefighters a lot more. Thank you Chief Boykin for taking the time to sit down and help me understand what I had no clue on. I feel a lot safer knowing you and your men are there to protect me and my family.
There are some cool photos of training fires at the Summerfield Fire Dept. website. Check them out at: http://www.summerfieldfire.com/default.htm
Friday, August 20, 2004
Great Story on EPA Milage Ratings
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
What I Am Currently Working On
How Would Jesus Vote?
The article has a few funny quotes. James C. Moore, co-author of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George Bush Presidential," "If ever there were a bleeding-heart liberal, it was Jesus Christ," Moore said at Congregation Agudas Achim synagogue. "I think the carpenter from Galilee was the original Democrat." Where as, conservative pastors such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson "would have us believe that morality is all about where you stand on abortion, how you treat homosexuals. I think that is simply wrong," said John D. Moyers, senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for American Progress. Finally, The Rev. Timothy Tutt, pastor of United Christian Church in Austin, "As I read the Scriptures and as I understand faith, God's side is the group that's feeding the poor, caring about children, making sure that people have enough food to eat, not killing others," said Tutt, who opposes the war in Iraq.
To read this article in full, go to: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&amp;amp;amp;ncid=703&e=5&u=/ap/20040818/ap_on_re_us/jesus_vote
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Bush-Cheney Outsourcing Campaign Items
I am very excited to go to this event. I, as you know, am new to this bloggers community. Ed Cone got me started. For beginners or experienced bloggers, this conference offers insight into the community, as well as a time for us to all meet each other and swap ideas, talk shop, and maybe learn more about our blogging community. If you are interested in going to the conference, please link to the site Ed Cone has set up and let him know you are coming. I'm looking forward to this conference.
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Suv's, Gas Rate Hikes, and Soccer Moms
My concern is not only the safety of having so many SUV's on the road, or the concern of who is driving them, but the gas mileage these trucks get, as well as the incredible perks you can get from driving an SUV. You see, the average person does not go to buy a vehicle with the environment in mind, but "Hey what's so-and-so gonna think of my new ride." The vanity of the American public ceases to amaze me, once again. This is not all people, but it is the majority of people.
The perks, I previously talked about, that you get are absolutely amazing. Under IRS tax code, Section 179 deduction, you can essentially write off 100% of your SUV if you: 1) Buy an SUV over 6000 lbs 2) Claim and prove you use it for business purposes at least 50% of the time and 3) Set up a second office in your home so you can write off your business miles. Effectively, you can have up to a $100,000 tax deduction. You can buy and write-off a Hummer H2 in full, the year you purchase it. This is not possible for a car under 6000 lbs. For a list of qualifying vehicles go to http://www.selfemployedweb.com/suv-tax-deduction-list.htm
Another perk of buying an SUV is that, if your SUV weighs over 5100 lbs and is classified as a light truck you do not need an emissions check yearly. You save the $30 in my state of NC. Pretty crappy if you think about it. SUV's are allowed, by the government, to waste 1/3 more fuel then a car. The emissions are not inspected and are very high in comparison to a car.
Sierraclub.org reports the following on it's website:
Because the government classifies SUVs as "light trucks" rather than cars, SUVs have a license to guzzle more gas and pollute more than cars. In 1975, when fuel-economy standards were first adopted, "light truck" referred to a vehicle used to haul hay on the farm or gravel at a construction site. At that time, light trucks comprised only 20 percent of the vehicle market. Today, SUVs, mini-vans and other light trucks make up nearly half of new vehicles sold. They are far more likely to haul lattés home from Starbucks than lumber from the yard. Even though Detroit has technology that could make them both cleaner and safer, SUVs and other light trucks are still held to low environmental standards, roll over more than cars and pose greater danger to other vehicles than cars do.
To read in full the Sierra Clubs SUV and GlobalWarming Report go to: http://www.sierraclub.org/globalwarming/SUVreport/
Here also is a short list I have compiled of the best and worst gas mileage for SUV's and the size of their gas tanks.
Scion XB- 31mpg city/ 34-35mpg highway- 11.9 gallon fuel tank
Toyota Rav4- 21-24mpg city/ 26-30mpg highway- 14.8 gallon fuel tank
Ford Escape- 22mpg city/ 25mpg highway- 16.5 gallon fuel tank
Honda CR-V- 21-23mpg city/25-29mpg highway- 15.3 gallon fuel tank
Honda Element- 21-22mpg city/ 24-26mpg highway- 15.9 gallon fuel tank
Land Rover Discovery- 12mpg city/ 16mpg highway- 24.6 gallon fuel tank
Mercedes G500 SUV- 13mpg city/ 14mpg highway- 21.1 gallon fuel tank and 2.5 gallon reserve Toyota Land Cruiser- 13mpg city/ 16mpg highway- 25.4 gallon fuel tank
GMC Yukon Denali- 13mpg city/ 17 mpg highway- 26 gallon fuel tank
GMC Yukon Denali XL- 13mpg city/ 17mpg highway- 31 gallon fuel tank
Cadillac Escolade ESV- 13mpg city/ 17mpg highway- 31 gallon fuel tank
Cadillac Escolade EXT- 13mpg city/ 17mpg highway- 31 gallon fuel tank
Lincoln Aviator- 13mpg city/ 18mpg highway- 22.5 gallon fuel tank
Lincoln Navigator- 13mpg city/ 18mpg highway- 28 gallon fuel tank
As well as Cadillac's Escolade, GMC's Yukon Denali and Lincoln's Navigator, the following are the most popular SUV's on the road:
Ford Explorer- 17mpg city/ 21mpg highway- 22.5 gallon fuel tank
Chevy Tahoe- 14-16mpg city/ 18-19mpg highway- 26 gallon fuel tank
Chevy Suburban 5300 - 14-18mpg city/ 15-20mpg highway(6000 and 8100 N/A)- 31 gallon fuel tank
Hummer H2- EPA data N/A because it weighs over 8600lbs- 32 gallon fuel tank
All of this data was collected on each car companies website. I must tell you, unless you know where to look or spend a considerable amount of time doing so, this information is well hidden. These car companies don't want you to know. I spoke to a salesman at Mercedes Benz of Greensboro, to find out how big fuel tanks were in their SUV's. The information was nowhere on there website. It took him a minute and he gave me the info. He also expressed that, "Unfortunately, it was as I suspected. I wish they had bigger tanks or better fuel mileage, but they don't." Even he knew what the deal was.
As you can tell I have a beef with the auto industry on this issue. They are solely responsible for making vehicles of mass destruction. I guess if I was President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld, I'd just bomb them(Like Iraq or Afghanistan). Obviously, that is not the solution here either.
France found a solution in Paris. They have banned the use of SUV's within the city limits. Finally the French have done something good besides give us a statue that we have lost the meaning to.
What can you do about this? Write your local and state Congressmen and representatives and tell them how bad SUVs' are for the environment and people in general. Encourage them to make SUV's just as responsible as cars. If they are classified as light trucks and are being used for business purposes, then don't you think it would make sense to be required to have a commercial license and license plate?
You can also be a responsible individual and buy something with better gas mileage and cleaner emissions. Yes, I said, be a responsible individual. Over the past few years our government has run anti-drug ads, stating that if you buy drugs like marijuana, you are funding terrorism. I feel that if you buy gas guzzling SUV's, you are funding terrorism. That's right, I feel you are funding terrorism, by supporting the oil producing countries that harbor and fund terrorism and terrorist activities. Get cars! Let me say that again, GET CARS! They would still use gas, less gas, but that is a whole other rant for me to go on. Write the auto makers. Encourage them to make more efficient vehicles. If we don't buy the crap, they won't sell the crap! Do the Earth a favor, next time you go car shopping, think about what you are doing. Get a vehicle that gets good gas mileage and has low emissions. Be kind to your planet and think about your children's future. Boycott SUV's.
Here are some links to check out:
www.suvsuck.org/index.htm , www.suv.org , www.autosafety.org/ , www.hwysafety.org/ , and http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/studies/LTV/ (NHTSA- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Thursday, August 12, 2004
A Sensitive Issue
In case you go to this site after the 12th of August, it is archived on Aug 12th.
Smokers and Tobacco Growers Rights
So you can read the e-mail I received, here it is:
Dear JAYSON OVITTORE,
North Carolina smokers, and smokers across the nation, face a potential disaster that involves federal regulation of tobacco products. No other issue, short of immediate prohibition of tobacco products, would have as large an impact on your rights as a smoker.
The U.S. Senate recently passed an FDA/tobacco quota buyout plan that would cost smokers more than $12 billion over six years. What's worse, the bill gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) complete control over tobacco products, from farming and production to taste, price, coupons and availability. If the bill becomes law, the cost of cigarettes will increase. And with tobacco products under FDA control, all tobacco regulations will be subject to the whim of non-elected government officials.
Fortunately, the House of Representatives passed tobacco quota buyout legislation that won't increase the price of cigarettes and doesn't give the FDA control. Now, select Senate and House members must meet to draft a compromise proposal.
MySmokersRights encourages all adult smokers in North Carolina to take a moment to e-mail Senator Elizabeth Dole today and urge her to support the House-approved tobacco buyout bill that does not include tax increases on working smokers or FDA regulation of tobacco. In your own words (remember to be polite and courteous) tell her:
Reject the Senate tobacco quota buyout bill that includes a multi-billion-dollar tax increase on hard-working smokers.
Giving control of tobacco products to the Food and Drug Administration is unwise and unacceptable.
If Congress wants to be fair to both tobacco growers and smokers, it should adopt the House version of the tobacco quota buyout bill.
To write Senator Elizabeth Dole, the address is:
Senator Elizabeth Dole725 North Main StreetSuite 404Salisbury, NC 28144-0364
To phone, the number is (704) 633-5011.
During the next few weeks, we will provide additional opportunities via e-mail for you to contact other legislators on this important issue. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to also let them know how you feel about this issue.
Not a member of MySmokersRights? Join today at http://www.mysmokersrights.com/ and let us help keep you informed about any issues that impact your rights as an adult smoker.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
I also recieved the same e-mail to write to Rep. Howard Coble. Here is his info:
To write Rep. Howard Coble, the address is:
Rep. Howard Coble2102 North Elm StreetSuite BGreensboro, NC 27408-0512
To phone, the number is (336) 333-5005.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
If Republicans Read...
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Check out the link.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Howard Dean, who I was scared of during his presidential run, told Wolf Blitzer, "President Bush is using politics to fear the people into voting for his re-election. The information is not available to anyone outside the administration. He has admitted to it in his campaign run." Howard Dean formally accused Bush of using the terror threat to boost his ratings with the public. Howard Dean also commented on the vagueness of the intelligence, saying " Look out for people who walk into buildings and for people driving cars. That is all that the people of New York City do." He called for more specific warnings, if the warnings are real at all.
Thank you Howard Dean for finally saying what has needed to be said for months and months on end.