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New Idea to Fix PA Highways

If we cut out all the paperwork and man hours needed to handle 4 year driver’s licenses and we quit checking vehicles every year and instead check them once every 2 years and we stop worrying about stickers on license plates- then we’ll save millions of dollars annually and that money can go into fixing PA’s crumbling roads!

That is the idea being put forth to Governor Tom Corbett and he’ll be looking at the final ideas at the beginning of August.

The only negative about this plan is things change in 8 years.  Especially if you are getting your first license at 18.  We can expect potential changes in height, weight, hair color, whether a driver needs glasses, health status.  It’s a great idea for cutting out paperwork but I don’t know if it’s a great idea when we are suddenly considering using licenses for voting purposes. 

People will change in 8 years time.  What is the point of creating a personal license anyhow?  We don’t need the ID anymore!  Not when a thumbprint can give anyone all the information they need about us.

But heck, no one asked me!

love,

mo

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Purple Tree Traps!

I’ve been seeing purple box kite like objects hanging in the trees around here and I wondered what they were.

Well, they are “traps” for Emerald Ash Borers or EAB’s.  This is an insect that came over in shipping from the Orient where these insects live in harmony with their Ash trees, but here the bugs are infesting and killing our Ash trees.

The boxes have no pheremones inside.  They do not attract insects the way we normally think of traps attracting them.  These are just purple boxes with sticky stuff inside that bugs stick to.  If researchers find one EAB then there is a good chance that they’ve been in the canopy for a couple of years at least, and that that county will now be considered an EAB area and there will be rules for handling wood in that community.

Here is a very long video that explains everything you’d ever want to know about EAB’s.

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Pentagon Plans Ice Games in Arctic

The Pentagon is planning Search and Rescue Mission “Games” in the Arctic with 7 other nations because of the changing nature of the Arctic.  There will be more shipping and flights in that area and thus there will need to be help in saving people who are at risk in this largely unpopulated and empty area. 

I’m just finding it strange that we can sink so much money into helping with resources and funding in an area that has no one in it, and yet, when we need aid from the military in our own country we can’t get it because of rules that make it impossible for the military to act within our own  borders unless they have been requested to do so and unless they’ll be paid for doing so.

So it’s okay to work for civilian groups as long as they are foreign?  Check out bits of this story from Defense Weekly-

“The extreme distances, limited infrastructure, and paucity of assets will make a timely SAR response challenging in the best of conditions,” a May 2011 DoD Arctic report states.

“As human activity increases in the region, this gap is expected to increase. SAR, however, is not a force sizing or shaping mission for DoD; the Department contributes assets when needed and as available.”

In May, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden signed the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic.

The agreement is designed to coordinate “life-saving international maritime and aeronautical SAR coverage and response among the Arctic States across an area of about 13 million square miles,” according to a State Department fact sheet.

While the agreement was signed in May, it will not be enforced several more months, according to Balton, who spoke at a June 29 presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“There are envisioned search-and-rescue exercises to begin to work on implementation of the agreement,” Amanda Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, said during the same event.

While the multinational SAR agreement facilitates communication and cooperation, it does not translate into more assets and resources for the critical mission, Balton said.

“I am hoping each of the eight governments, including the United States, can use it to that effect,” he said.

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Fireworks About To Fizzle in Pottstown?!

It costs 60,000 dollars to put on the annual show over at Memorial Park in Pottstown.  It’s been a wonderful celebration in years past.  We have had a parade and races and hot air balloons and musicians and we’ve had fireworks!

If everyone who came to see any of the events just paid one dollar then the cost of the events would be covered, but no one wants to pay for the excitement. 

Businesses aren’t lining up to finance the event.  Private dollars aren’t pouring in.

Pottstown needs a quick infusion of cash in order to not go into debt with this celebration!

Strangely, despite the doom and gloom with the money- the plan is to go forward and try to make the money up at the event and afterward!

Honestly when you think about it, that makes sense because it’s very likely that all the downpayments have already been made.  The July 4th committee would probably be out of pocket an awful lot of money whether there was an event or not!

So, how can we help?  The Mercury always advertises sponsors names…That doesn’t seem like enough of a perk to get folks to help.

How do we help people get a bang for their buck? 🙂

Great minds?  Think on it and report back to the rest of us!  Stat!

love,

mo

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Poor Baby Enzo

When I first read about poor baby Enzo, a 3 month old who had suffered blunt trauma and died, apparently at the hands of his father I was shocked and angered and saddened like I’m sure most people would be.  Afterall, this man allegedly killed an infant!

Then coincidentally I found this article over at Metafilter.  It advertised a propublica story about people being accused of murdering children when in fact the evidence on further review showed that there were either other injuries or illnesses that led to the trauma and death, or that there were other people responsible for the murders than the alleged perps.

The issue seems to be that all dead people aren’t alike.  Dead babies, which we hate to even think about, are literally a breed apart.  They need specialized autopsies done by certified experts in infant trauma and death.  Since it is generally true that no one sees babies die- and all we have is medical evidence and the evidence handed in by officers that are often dealing with an upset and frightened adult- the allegations are sometimes all that is required to lay blame solely on that individual.  The Medical Examiners then may seem to work for the police rather than for the “decedent”.

It is horrific to imagine a poor sick little baby being knocked around because he was sick…but take a second and think about it- in the article we were told the baby vomitted,  those of us who have been around babies aren’t shocked to hear that a tiny baby tosses the last of their bottle..but .that isn’t exactly the story that the father is telling.  He has to go into the bathroom to clean up after the babies vomitting. The police have gathered the story, the police are building a case.  They are saying that while the father was in the bathroom he struck the child against the counter because he was angry.  But can we be sure that is what the father said? 

 It may not have been a simple spit up.  This baby may have already been traumatized, or may have already been seriously sick.  After reading the article over at propublica I worry that that might be an important bit of evidence!http://www.propublica.org/article/the-hardest-cases-when-children-die-justice-can-be-elusive

I’m not an apologist for baby killers!  If a person is heinous enough to kill an infant then I say they deserve a life in prison-but let’s make sure we get the right person and let’s not blame and jail  just  last person who was with the baby because it’s convenient and let’s be honest… how much time and money do you want to spend on finding out what really happened to that baby?!  I don’t think we mean to be callous or cold. I think we just have learned to make what we think are natural assumptions.

What if we are wrong?

mo