Showing posts with label Community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Community. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Medford, Oregon is on Fire

Tonight, an American city of over 80,000 people is burning. 
As fire ravages the cities of Phoenix and Talent, a new blaze started in north Medford.
The fire was first reported at about 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. Radio traffic indicated it was at or close to the Bear Creek Greenway near Interstate 5 exit 30.
As of 9:00 p.m., I-5 remained closed in the area as limited resources attacked the fire. Evacuations were being considered as far north as Central Point due to the spread of the fire.
This comes as a fire that started in north Ashland Tuesday burned north through Talent and Phoenix, triggering evacuation notices for the City of Medford.
Not the woods, not the brush in the hills--the city is beginning to burn. The fire has swept down into the city and is burning structures. Evacuations are being carried out.

This map says it all:

While we carry on with all of our problems and live with our cares and concerns, there's a fire headed straight up Interstate 5 and it's headed for the city itself.

Say a prayer tonight (or pray to whatever deity you follow or believe in) and think good thoughts for the people in the way of what's happening. Whether you've been following the folks facing devastation in Louisiana and Texas or the people in eastern Iowa who are still dealing with the after effects of a devastating derecho, it is hard to see how it is possible to escape being on edge about what is happening to the world around us.  Add to that COVID-19, economic calamity, 50,000,000 Americans facing hunger and everything else I haven't mentioned, and it is just staggering how much suffering there is out there right now.

I am hoping we get to a better version of America soon and go back to taking care of one another because this year is the annus horriblus of nightmares.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

This Country is Already Great

Antonio Basco lost the woman he loved, and so he invited everyone to her funeral. And damned near everyone showed up:

When Jordan Ballard read that one of the victims of the El Paso massacre had few relatives and the public was invited to her funeral, the Los Angeles resident bought a plane ticket and flew to Texas to honor a woman she had never met.

She was one of hundreds of strangers who braved 100-degree (38 Celsius) heat to pay their respects to 63-year-old Margie Reckard. Feeling heartbroken and alone after her death, Reckard’s companion of 22 years, Antonio Basco, had welcomed anyone to attend.

“I arrived here this morning,” said Ballard, 38, who lived in New York City during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “His story moved me.”

The service was moved from a funeral home to La Paz Faith Memorial & Spiritual Center to accommodate the crowd. Vocalists and musicians volunteered to help, including a mariachi band. Condolences and orders for flowers poured in.

“He felt like he was going to kind of just be by himself with this whole thing but it’s not so,” Perches Funeral Homes director Harrison Johnson said Thursday of Basco.

We live in a wonderful country that does not have to be taken back to the “good old days” when women were silent and minorities were air brushed out of existence. We live in a country that is always moving forward, always offering an opportunity for people to come here and build a life for themselves. We live in a country that must reject the politics of Trumpism and embrace the dignity and the grace exemplified here by a man grieving.

It has to be a hard thing to imagine an empty church and indifference all around you when the worst possible thing that could happen to you happens like it did in El Paso. But what few people understand is that it is communities like this, which are predominantly working class, poor, and filled with immigrants, that make up the future of America. In forty years, the president will be someone from a town in the middle of nowhere, who remembers being poor and who will never forget what has been said and done to the vulnerable and the desperate as they came here. It might even be someone born in a shelter made of military tents, just over on this side of the border, making them eligible to be the 54th or 55th president.

The lesson we had better learn from Mr. Basco is that he is just as American as anyone around him. He is uniquely and self-evidently American in his approach to opening his heart to the community around him. His simple act is enough to build a community of kindness that is desperately needed. We are losing that, and we are inundated with the screeching of horrible people who hate reflexively because they have stopped trying to be a part of their physical world. They live to hurl insults on the Internet and pull guns on people who live a few doors down. This country and this world doesn’t make sense to them because they are warped with hate and have been told by the president that their racism and bigotry are A-OK in his book.

Thanks to Trump and his base, every day seems to be worse than the day before; however, today my wife reminded me to look to the love that was shown in El Paso, and see what actually is American. It’s in the turnout at that church. It’s in the love that was shown to a stranger who did nothing to deserve what happened to him and the love of his life. America has always been great and we can’t let Trump take that away from us.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Thank God They Left Google+ Alone

The 2020 Election is coming up, and a new Senate report says that virtually every social media platform has been infiltrated with Russian accounts designed to attack our democracy:

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been advised that social media companies might have provided the "bare minimum" amount of data to aid the panel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to a person familiar with a report commissioned by the committee.

The committee hired an online intelligence firm to review data on Russian social media accounts that posed as American accounts. The data, much of which has not yet been made public, was provided to lawmakers by Facebook, Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube. 

New Knowledge, the firm hired by the committee, tracks online disinformation. In its report to lawmakers, the firm said that the social media companies could have provided more valuable data to the committee and also could have presented it in a more accessible format. 

The firm advised lawmakers that there are likely more Russian accounts that the social media companies failed to identify, according to person familiar with the report.

Oh, there are tons of them on all of the social media platforms, except Google+, of course, which technically shouldn’t even exist anymore. There are Russians acting up on Facebook and Twitter as we speak because the people who track the bots that spread pro-Trump bullshit never sleep.

The first thing we do is, we regulate the living hell out of these platforms. We have to protect our way of life and we have to put the screws to every single Russian troll. They are manipulating our elections and they are spreading disinformation everywhere.

Oh, except on Google+, of course. Nobody bothers with that anymore.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kids Don't Follow

Who really plays pickleball? Is it really for kids?

I think it's great that someone decided to give money to build a Pickleball court. I just don't know any kids who would play it; therefore, this was a donation specifically for someone who wants to play Pickleball and to hell with the youngsters and their iPads and their pickleheaded ways.

Not everything in a community has to be for one group. But don't pretend there isn't a form of elitism at work when corporations give money to build things.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Real Abuse of Government Power

Forget that nonsense with Cliven Bundy--this is your real case of government overreach:
A widow was given ample notice before her $280,000 house was sold at a tax auction three years ago over $6.30 in unpaid interest, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled.
The decision last week turned down Eileen Battisti's request to reverse the September 2011 sale of her home outside Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania. 
"I paid everything, and didn't know about the $6.30," Battisti said. "For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy." 
Battisti, who still lives in the house, said Monday that she plans to appeal to Commonwealth Court. That court earlier ordered an evidentiary hearing, which led to last week's ruling.
The city cannot take your house over such a paltry amount, especially if the homeowner agrees to pay the amount or negotiate a fair settlement of the money owed. The proportionality here is so far out of whack that I cannot imagine a situation where this opinion from the judge holds up under an appeal.

Friday, November 15, 2013

HAM Radio and the Philippines

HAM radio operators are helping out in the Philippines and that's a good thing.
I am a Ham Radio Operator and as you all know we do our very best as radio communications volunteers in devastated areas and Haiyan-13 is another one we are helping with. I belong to a couple organizations but the one I work with the most is GEM (Global Emergency Communications) We are in the midst of it again. What we are able to do this disaster is provide Health and Welfare information to people requesting it. If you have a loved one we are on the ground in Cebo and Manila and other areas where there is power getting messages to and from the affected area.We thank CNN for doing their part and hope we can do our part by working together. -Ray, KA1AAA
When the Internet breaks down eventually under the weight of porn and hackers, go back to your dusty old HAM radio and reconnect.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jim Eddy

Jim Eddy was my professor of political science at Winona State University many years ago. Here he is, still vibrant and active in the community, and a part of the remembrance of Veterans who have served.

All throughout this country, there are people like Professor Eddy and we do not appreciate their service, their sacrifices, and their desire to make the country a better place.