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Over the last few days on facebook, i'm not sure how many of you noticed, but I have gone borderline obsessive about how nasty Hurricane Matthew could be and pinpointed several high school friends in the line of fire. And it's looking worset han I imagined a couple of days ago. Most of the meteorological community was thinking maybe cat 3 and the storm moving along the shoreline from northern atlantic Florida towards the Carolinas. Then came the models a ouple of days ago, where they hinted at the storm (which has take the life of ~17 people in Haiti and as of this moment is slashing through the Bahamas) heading towards the coast of Florida, if not a direct landfall. I have to admit, things went from "Oh crap" to "Mother of God". And as the storm has made its way through the Bahamas after going through the hillier terrain of Haiti and eastern Cuba, it somehow stayed as a strong cat 2/ weak cat 3.

Now, ~ 24 hours after blasting through Cuba and Haiti, it's getting nastier by the minute, now back to a Category 4 storm. This "Matthew" is one mean m-f'er. And now, if the track and the models are close, we are looking at a near-landfall or pure landfall between Melborune FL and Daytona Beach Florida sometime tomorrow morning. It's current and forecasted wind field has the potential of hurricane force winds (greater than 64kts/74mph/120kph) as far as 40-50 nautical miles (45-58 miles/75-90km) from the center radially. That's a lot of real estate. And to make matters worse, the winds of 100kt/115mph/200kph (EF1/EF2 tornado) may be 10-20 miles/15-30km from the center. So if this storm stays off shore it will be bad, but if it were to somehow come onshore, whoever's in the path of the eye and the eye wall is generally screwed over 6 ways from Sunday (to keep it clean). And that's not including any tornadoes that spin up within the bands of rain with the hurricane, or the 4-8 feet of storm surge (think wall of water above normal tides, before adding in waves of 15-25 feet on top of that). Add to that the fact that this part of the southeast Atlantic Seaboard has not seen a storm of this magnitude on this specific for more than a few years (longer than the drought of 5 years without a major hurricane land-falling in the US proper), and several friends I know haven't been though something like this before, and it's a recipe of disaster if you somehow think you want to stay around there the next few days.

My current advice to my friends from the central South Carolina coast all the way to Fort Lauderdale: WHY HAVEN'T YOU GONE INLAND AND EVACUATED YET? GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE!!!!!  THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!!!

And for me personally and professionally over the years, I have to admit, I am sometimes the last one to go nuts with "calling for the big one". i don't like to alarm people needlessly, like has happened with some people (*cough* winter storm names *cough*). This time, I can't hold back on this. If the worst were to occur, people may die. And I don't want that especially to be my friends, whether from high school or otherwise.

To those who have already evacuated, whew. for those who didn't yet for whatever reason, don't wait.

so please, take this seriously, especially my high school classmates. we do have a reunion coming up next year (25th). And i'd like to be able to see you and your families there in one piece. thanks.
how I'm feeling: concerned
I know you have to be wondering, what the heck I am talking about. well, it starts off with the flooding a couple of weeks ago in Houston after some places got 10+ inches of rain. And there were more than a few problems, homes damaged, roads damaged, roads flooded out, etc.

And one met down in H-town was cited by Huffington Post for making a really strong statement on the air, after hearing that more than a few people who didn't heed the NWS saying "Turn Aorund, Don't Drown". And what he was hearing from reporters and such wasn't only people doing so, but saying their bosses ordered them to drive in to work, even if the roads might be impassible, and even if they were told by authorities it wasn't safe to do so.

So one met for fox-26 in Houston, Mike Iscovitz, went off on a bit of a rant, even going so far as saying

“If anybody got fired because they didn’t go out to work in this, call us,” he continued. “We will expose that [employer] on the air in front of millions of people and embarrass them. I will do that. I’m serious.”

the link below is the link to the complete HuffPo article, as well as the on-air rant in which this quote was taken.


Needless to say, I have to admit, I was a bit shocked at first. Not necessarily because he said it, or even made the threat, but because there are lot of mets that say this off-air but noone really goes with this in public.

I actually see this thing in a couple of lights.

  • First, you have to admit, if a metro area is undergoing nasty flooding, I am more than likely thinking commuting there is a nightmare at best, but at worst literally impossible.

  • Second, as someone who doesn't like to see someone else get harmed, even due to dim-bulb ideas, and even as a safety advocate on my line at the factory, seeing someone order someone else into a more dangerous situation than they need to be in blindly knowing that the consequences are most likely great, that just seems like pushing someone too far. Sometimes you just need to think for a second and wonder if you really should make that order.

  • Third, yes maybe this is going a bit far as a meteorologist. But since a lot of mets in TV are also "Multimedia Journalists" as well these days, why wouldn't you want to tell the full story of what is going on? It's not necessarily even a ratings thing, just as a human story?

  • Fourth, I remember a conversation I had at a Job Club in the northwest metro a couple of years ago with a lady who was out of work, but in her past was actually a college professor in Psychology over at the University of Illinois. We talked a bit about some professional stuff, and at the time the NWS and AMS were doing a lot of studies about communicating warnings better, post Joplin. And I asked her some stuff as a psychologist about getting the message sent out better. And she told me bluntly, maybe the on-air met should just tell them "get to shelter or you'll &*()%^ die". to me it seemed almost too blunt. But sometimes she said (paraphrasing), "you just have to be that blunt with people if they don't listen otherwise. And if they don't listen than, then you have to say screw them".

  • fifth, there is this initative from the National Weather Service called "Weather Ready Nation" . It's an initative where, due to what happened in Joplin, in the deep south in Alabama, New Orleans, and other areas; that it was thought to be a real good idea to help people, schools, communities, and businesses understand what to actually do in cases of flash floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, etc. And to show off what places/communities/schools/businesses/organizations are stepping up to the plate and really preparing as well as they can be, there actually is a certification showing that these places know what to do, and what people are helping others know how to make the right preps, known as being "Storm Ready".

So with all of that laying out there, I have to admit, I could see why he did it, given all that has gone on in the Weather community and what is going on. And I could see how someone could call it borderline unprofessional, given the anger behind the statement. And if you look at the discussion about this on LinkedIn, you could see these arguments play out. There are a couple of statements from fellow members, and also one or two from a CCM (Certified Consulting Meteorologist). So it plays out well talk about it for several days, some people take a more legal stand; some a more of an argument about the goal being to save lives, almost no matter what the short-term cost; and also points in between. At least it spurred some debate, and to be honest, I was looking for a bit of profesional guidance from peers anyway, so I got it. And I thought ok, good things to think about. So much so, that when I was at a safety conference in MInny on behalf of Andersen-Renewal, while we were in-between classes/lectures, I saw a booth for MN-OSHA (Minnesota Occupatioal Safety and Health Administration). So I decided when noone else was the booth to ask a hypothetical based off this Houston Met's rant and how they might deal with it. He basically said there wasn't much OSHA could do if they weren't on the premisis and not in a company vehicle. But it might be a good question for the Department of Labor. I have to admit, I have't asked them about it, but it would be an interesting question to ask.

So, with that all being said, as I said earlier, there was a lot to think about, but for the moment the debate was over. Or so I thought. One of the things LinkedIn does when you start a discussion topic within a gorup, unless you check otherwise they e-mail you when the discussion  was updated. Well, yesterday evening, I get an e-mail from LinkedIn about the discussion. And it ends up the met who made the statement originally on TV, and even defended what he said a bit in the discussion, well, he got an e-mail from the AMS CBM board (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, it's a program that when you see the seal displayed duing the forecast, it says that the met knows what he's doing). Apparently, the CCM who thought this CBM went over the line filed a formal complaint to the CBM Board about what he did on the air, maybe trying to go after his seal, or at least some sanctions. In a major market like Houston, that could mean he could lose his job, as most stations like his usually require either a CBM from the AMS or a Seal of Approval from the NWA (National Weather Association). It would be more than a bit tragic that one rant like that, or a discussion about that rant, could lead to someone losing their job. It's not what I intended at the least. As I stated above, I was thinking more of "forward-looking guadance", or a "learn for next time" type of thing.

I am wondering if I should have even brought up the topic over on LinkedIn like I did, gven how much higher the stakes are now. But as I see it, if someone didn't do it in a group where all members could comment professionally, maybe it would have been brought up by potential advertisers and he would have been gone without notice, causing even more debate as to why. And in that discussion, the mystery could end up being more conspiritorial, or even political in a non-professional forum, when it shouldn't be that way, given how life and death can be at stake depending on what is said on-air and off.

Hopefully though, In hope two things come out of this. One, that Mr. Iscovitz gets to keep his seal without sanction, as he seems like the met you'd want to have on the air in a situation like this. But two, I am hoping that the CBM committee (and the CCM committee for that matter) can use this opportunity to claify some policies in this regard, so that we get some clearer guidelines down the line.

As for one side question though for the NWS as part of "Storm Ready". If a company gets the certification that they are "Storm Ready", and then through actions of supervisors orders they direct their employees to ignore storm-readiness and put their lives needlessly in peril, can a company have that status take away from them publicly for such an action?

hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst. from the bear's den on the web, later.
how I'm feeling: worriedworried
what's on now: bumper music
13 May 2016 @ 11:34 am
well, overtime shift tonight at work. but tomorrow after work, I will have a show to watch. The Eurovision Song Contest finals start tomorrow at 2pm central/3pm eastern. I'll be watching online via live youtube stream (look for eurovision song contest channel onyou tube, or on the Eurovision Song Contest app on Windows 8.x/10.x. I have to check who the top seeds are, as I'm not sure how they ordered the performers this year.
is some of the music cheesy in a contest like this? no doubt. But there's no swiss cheese in this year's grand final, as they didn't make it past the prelims.
for those who try to think of what this is like, think American Idol/The Voice, except you go from the final 25 to 1, in one night, one live performance, order on stage determined by preliminary-round scores. And the voting is weird compared what we're used to. each country counts equally, like each state is treated in our US Senate, but you're not allowed to vote for your own country. And professional music judges count for 1/2 the country's score, while the other half is from phone-in votes. points for placements go 12 for first, 10 for second, then 8 for 3rd, then 7 thru 1 for the rest of the top 10. and the winner of the contest is the country's representative that has the highest placement score.

should you watch and/or listen? probably if only if you have nothing else to do, or if the weather has you socked in. but it's not that bad. you probably would look at it as different entertainment.

how I'm feeling: curiouscurious
what's on now: eurovision contest
13 May 2016 @ 09:47 am
If you haven't heard the news by now, Wendy's is taking their Kiosk ordering idea from a few select restaurants to the whole chain in the next couple of years. And I know, there's a lot in the more right-leaning side that say the main reason they're making this for all restaurants now is because of the proposed higher minimum wages. There could be some truth to that.

But if you think about the headline more closely for a minute, they were already doing this in a few restaurants. Read that to say "They were planning to do this anyway in the next few years, but it's a convenient excuse to use the minimum wage increase as the reason". It's the same type of reasoning that more and more people are hired either as temps, part-timers, or contract workers to not pay health benefits. Businesses were planning to do that anyway, and were slowly doing that since the late 2000's. But the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, came out, and those businesses who were planning to make such a move figured "here's the excuse to roll this out en masse, let's do it now". They didn't say that explicitly, but if you look behind a lot of business numbers and ideals, that's exactly what they were thinking.

So please keep that in mind, instead of the talking points you'll hear from both the left and the right.

And one other thing on this....

I hear several press outlets saying this is the first major chain to do this in any major way. I'm sorry, but I'm guessing they never went to a Sheetz minimart/gas station since 2007? Because to the Sheetz locations I remember being in, whether in State College or in eastern PA, they all had you order their "Made to Order" subs and salads that way. since like 2006 or 2007. And I'm guessing when Wendy's did such an experiment the last couple of years, they probably saw the cost savings from what Sheetz did. Also, McDonalds has been experimenting with this concept now for several years in a few select locations as well. And this was a long time before the movements to try to raise the minimum wage to between 12 and 15/hr. So what Wendy's is doing isn't original. It's copy-catting a minimart.

boy, I wish the press would do their homework, or at least go back to j-school and learn to do more thorough reserarch before doing a story like that.
Tags: ,
how I'm feeling: curiouscurious
what's on now: "nightly show" on CC via roku
21 March 2016 @ 09:01 pm
have on DWTS attm. seeing the cast members, have to wonder at first glance...
Kim Fields was on the "Real Housewives of Atlanta"? talk about a step down from "The Facts of Life". but at least she didn't do bad on her first appearance. She'll be around a while, as she has potential.
Marla Maples is in there as well? will her Ex-hubby/presidential candidate Donald Trump work for her, or against her in the fan voting? Her actual dancing was pretty good, and has potential. not sure she can win, but she'll be around for a while, depending on the viewer votes.
Geraldo Rivera? definitely think he won't get as much support as a talk show host as Jerry Springer did. and let's face it, despite his age, he will be bounced out early. Starting off the dance with the laughable "Al Capone's Vault" announcement? Epic Fail in the making.
3 football players this time: LB Von Miller, WR Antonio Brown, and QB Doug Flutie. no thought of getting a kicker while we're at it? but Doug Flutie looks just ok, maybe looking to sell more "Flutie Flakes" than anything else. As for Antonio Brown, he represented Pittsburgh well, and emerged as one of the male contenders for the ball. And for Von Miller, he's #2 among the football contingent, but a close second.
Wayna Morris from Boyz 2 Men? well at least we know where the slow music will come from this year. not total pure cha cha, but definitely looking quite good for the season win. just will have to see how he does when he's not using his own group's music (used " Motown Philly" for the opener).
Paige Van Zant from MMA? could be interesting. and that first dance shows a lot of potential. could be a sleeper pick to win it all.
Nyle DiMarco from "America's Top Model"? well, at least he's got poise and presentation down. he's deaf? you can't tell that by the dance itself. he did quite well. and with the choreography timed out, he's a legit contender for the ball, with or without hearing .
Full House's Jodie Sweetin? i guess they postponed "Fuller House" for this. Well, at least Candice Cameron should help her. and she actually looked like a potential contender for the mirrorball after her first dance.
as for GMA meteorologist Ginger Zee, she should lock up a lot of the met vote, but let's face it, how many mets would have the time off or aren't sleeping during this time-slot given the weird hours most of them work? and plus, how many mets will be watching DWTS when it's the same night as the live "Weatherbrains" podcast? as for the dance itself, she looked good, but wasn't the star of the night (stiff competition on the female side). definitely the American and Canadian models don't write her out of the picture (the Euro, UKMET, and Japanese model ensembles are split) .
Mischa Barton from "The OC" and "Maximum Overdrive"? we'll see what happens. first dance impressions, a definite contender. definitly looked in time and in step. the tempo isn't a big fault in my book, but the judges see it very differently.

that's just my impressions and i'm sure you differ.  sound off and let me know .
how I'm feeling: interested
what's on now: various
11 March 2016 @ 09:28 am
Not sure if people remember here, but a couple of months ago, I mentioned somewhere about the Pelmorex picking up a  twitter account (@TheWeatherNetUS). And that followed Weatherbrains episode 492 several months earlier where several of the people from up in Oakville made an appearance and hinted at something coming stateside, but not saying what. Well, I guess I now found out what something is....

On my Roku box this morning, I was flipping through some channels, looking to maybe stream my usual ones (Comedy Central shows, youtube, the liberal talk one); and also head over to the one for South By Southwest (programming starting on that one today at 11am CT with Obama's speech later thi afternoon). But then I saw a new one pop up: The Weather Network from up in Oakville, Ontario. They are now streaming on my Roku box. And to be bluntly honest, this is a fairly big move, given recent events at their US cousin, The Weather Channel (they last I knew owned 40% of Pelmorex, but that may have changed). Unlike WeatherNation, the guys and gals on the Oakville/Mississaga line have much more TV experience to start off with, have better funding, a better set of storm chasers live in the field (Dayna Vetesse among others) and have been doing their own higher tech development behind the scenes for a while. And like their US cousins, they also have spun/sold off their commercial services division (Pelmorex sold theirs to MeteoGroup out of the UK, and the Weather Channel/The Weather Company sold their WSI and Weather Underground sister companies to IBM).

Looking at their current forecast package on the live stream, I have to admit, personally, I like theirs better than WeatherNation's. Not saying WeatherNation's is bad per se, but if you have the Roku box, try watching each channel, and you tell me. But that being said, they do need to get more of their personalities on the air, and they have to tape more than two or three segments to put in the rotation, which I hope they will do soon. Also, given what I remember of them in Canada, it will be interesting to see how they do in a severe weather outbreak with the live coverage. Because in Canada, they weren't bad. But this is the US now, and they have more competition.

That being said, there may be something that could end up a net positive here if they can pull it off: cross-border coverage. If you want to know how that can be pulled off, think about the Pacific Northwest US and the Lower Mainland of BC. Storms that affect Oregon and Washington will also affect Vancouver and the BC Interior. Also, with outbreaks that go across the northern Plains, there have been more than a few instances even since I have been out here where storms have crossed the border NW to SE or SW to NE. If one network could keep continuous coverage across both sides of the border, think how that could look good. And if you're in the Great Lakes, there have been more than a few squall lines over the years that have spanned from Northeastern Ontario all the way towards northern Indiana. and as those storms move from Lower Michigan to Western New York, most US coverage stops at the border crossing, while a lot of the storms usually don't. What if that storm coverage could be continuous without break, from Michigan, through London/Windsor, through Toronto/Hamilton/Niagara, and than right into Buffalo and Dunkirk, keeping track all the way with continous coverage? TWC, A-W, and WN currently don't, and can't really pull that off. And what about those big bomb-like nor'easters that blast everyone from DC to Newfoundland? Will TWN be able to give better perspective up and down the coast?

There are a lot of possibilities here, if this is pulled off the right way. Question is, will it? and if it does, what does it mean to the competition?

And by the way, WeatherNation and now TWN are on Roku. Where are Accu-Weather 24/7 and The Weather Channel national live internet streams on Roku? And I'd assume this is the same on Chromecast, but maybe those users can share if this is also the case... But if I was able to see all four TV services on the internet/roku stream, wouldn't that make for some real interesting comparisons, side by side?

But for now, all I can say from the outside looking in is, the war for TV Weather eyeballs just got a new player from the outside of the battlefield. And will they end up stealing the show, or just join in the fight making it, from an ECW persopective, from a three-way battle to a 4-way dance?

your thoughts.....
how I'm feeling: curiouscurious
what's on now: "keep them separated" by The Offspring
After an extremely mild Christmas/New Year's, and a couple of lake-effect events due to overdue intrusions of arctic air, we finally have the setup for a potential makor east-coast snow storm. And if you look at the different facebook, twitter, and internet weather sites out there, the hype machine is going as strong as a politican's during a hot campaign, and we're not even in New Hampshire or Iowa (even though southern new Hampshire might actually be affected pretty signifigantly).

Not saying it isn't tentatively warranted, given some of the model and model ensemble solutions out there. After all, 10-20 inches in a 200 mile stripe of the more populated portion of the US is pretty big economically. But some of the more infamous sites out there are going all "Weather Weenie" style displaying not projected ensemble risk, but showing near worst-case scenarios of projected 36-48" snowfalls. Mind you, that outside of lake-effect events, the most we have seen over the northeast in a single synoptic-scale event has been near 36" in the last couple of years; with most significant events closer to the 12-18" range. And also, remember the event is for 5-7 days ahead (Monday projections of a system for the this Friday to Sunday ahead). Also, the caveat that the synoptic support for this system hasn't even made it onshore in the Cascades yet. And the models are still only good for these type of events typically 2-3 days out for any decent details, with potential forecasts good to 5-6 days out, and general pattern recognition up to 2 weeks out.

So as much as models have improved, and will continue to improve now that NCEP finally got, in simplified motorsports metaphors, one of the top engines out there, we still need a better handling/aero package. and we can't have amateur drivers (like the facebook sites NEPAWX, PA Weather Authority, the Johnny Depp impersonator and forecasting impersonator from so-Cal Kevin Martin, and others), and others taking these sophisticated mathematical models and massacring their data like Justin Beiber does drag-racing a Ferrari in downtown Miami after midnight.

That all being said on my soapbox (and yes I yield back my soapbox time Mr. Speaker), i do agree with the latest data that there is a higher than normal potential for snow from the Mid-Atlantic to Southern New England and the Canadian Maritimes. And a decent potential for some rather signifigant snowfall amounts (12+ inches/30cms+) that could signifigantly blow and drift might affect a lot of commerce and a lot of people. But don't bank on Jim Cantore or other TV personalities in your back yard quite yet.

Come Wednesday, then you can start to place your bets. And when it comes to Thursday, yea I will pull out the Paint Shop Pro 15 and the Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet to venture with ye old snowfall map so you can know how bad I think it will be. but until then, enjoy the hype for what it is: the same type of hype Don kIng used to do for a Tyson fight. Except Momma Nature can outlast Tyson or Rhonda Rousey.
how I'm feeling: geeky
what's on now: wx soup
Interesting times within the weather industry continue into the new year. Over the last few years, we've had more than a few changes within the industry itself.

The Weather Channel/WSI buys Weather Underground and Weather Central, then ends up spinning off the data part of the combined company before selling it to IBM.

Also, the Weather Channel faces cable dial competition from not only WeatherNation (which also has a over-the-air side channel component), but also Accu-Weather 24/7.

WeatherData is bought up by Accu-weather

Several foreign weather/geoscience conglomerates come in to either buy up North American companies or establish offices in the North America.

  • Fugro from the Netherlands establishes an office in Houston

  • AWT and ImpactWeather bought by StormGeo, based out of Norway

  • multi-national Rockwell Collins buys WilkensWeather

  • Iteris buys Meridian out of Grand Forks (rumors more for the technology transfer than the forecasting)

  • Schneider Electric out of Germany buys DTN Meteorologix

  • Offices are established in the US for Austrian met conglomerate UBIMET. (manhattan to be exact)

  • WindLogics is bought by NextEra Energy Resources

Now Pelmorex is in on the act. First, after acquiring WorldWeatherwatch for its commercial forecasting back in 2006, now it sold off that commercial services division to Meteogroup out the UK this past October. And now within the last couple of weeks, at least on line and in the cell side, is competing in the US Market, video and app-wise. And from what I have seen of the video product, it looks like they may be making a move soon for some US cable/satellite outlets. And it's actually quite a curious move, given that NBC Universal, owner of the Weather Channel, is also a minority owner of Pelmorex/The Weather Network. But given the hints dropped on Weatherbrains several months ago when Chris Scott was a guest as part of a Canadian-themed episode, and given this move, you have to admit, we may be one step closer to Jim Cantore having to make a flight to wittness a nor'easter not from Boston, Cape Cod, or down-east Maine, but maybe Saint John, Moncton, Cape Breton, Yarmouth, Saint Johns, or even the "Wreckhouse"? or will Chris St Clair and Dayna Vettese be the ones coming out to places like Topeka and Minneapolis/St Paul?

Guess we'll see how 2016 shapes up. Just hope in the meantime I will be able to finally get back on the inside of the industry, not look from the outside in. That way I could concentrate more on doing what i do best, forecasting the weather, not speculate about the weather business like a commentator on CNBC, Fox Business, ROBTV, or Bloomberg analyst.
how I'm feeling: analytical
what's on now: james bond
I know most of you who might actually read this will wonder why i am writing. Well, because I have to admit, my mind is mixed up. Some good stuff came out of the year, like finally paying off my student loan, which is an albatross off my neck. and even made some new friends while going through life one window at a time down in Cottage Grove. and finally working with partially company paid health insurance is a relief as well.

But there also came a cost. Financially, I know I need to shape things up and hope to do so one way or another. And physically, after peaking in health in August, a combination of a screwed up foot from a freak tripping over a pavement crack and a few bad mental losses on the professional job search front, and switching to night shift, that is something I need to work on as well as some bad habits started to creep back in that shouldn't have.

I also have some other issues i just can't shake that I wish I could, like a mixed up head that should forget some stuff and let it go but just can't, like trying too hard sometimes and others maybe not as much as I should, and sometimes just not able to shut up when I should. yes the foot in mouth part has been curbed a bit, but it's still not perfect by any means.

most importantly though, there's just an internal frustration that says I can do so much better, but I just have trouble reaching the right people who can actually help me where I need to go, frustrating those who care about me the most. Yes there is a bit of jealousy in there as well, seeing others do well while i seemingly get left aside, unintentionally. All while there are others who I wish I could help more, as there are a lot of people that are in worse circumstances than myself.

And yes as I want a brighter future, my mind still has trouble exiting some of my past, whether it's because of certain potential employers wanting better explanations of my past, or old ghosts from the past not seemingly wanting to go away.

I just hope for the new year i finally get to that brighter place in life, where i can have a lot to celebrate, as I have a lot of people to celebrate it with once I get there. just wonder though how much more frustration I and others have to go through to get there. Because to say it doesn't wear on me mentally would be a worse bluff than playing 7-2 off-suit on a board containing 4 aces.

Just hope my wondering and meandering thoughts here don't make me look weird. After all, anyone who knows me well knows my mind just works different than a lot of people.

let's hope the new year can bring the occasion where micro-brews and micro-wineries from Minnesota can be flowing with joy.

peace out.
how I'm feeling: over-thinking
23 November 2015 @ 10:51 am
Well, yes you know that I am left-leaning politically,and I don't make it a secret that I am a DFL supporter here in MN, helping with campaigns, being active in local party caucuses, and such.

I can understand the concerns that a lot of my friends have about the possibility of refugees coming to their neighborhood from the middle east. Heck, I know without proper vetting, it can lead to problems. But that being said, when it comes to anyterrorist trying to sneak in as a refugee, it's an average of a 12-24 month process for someone to be considered a refugee that can reside in the US. Not only do you have to be cleared by the UN as being from an area of concern needing to escape for your life, but the state department also does quite an exhaustive background search, to be sure that UN report is correct, as well as be sure about identity and such. It's actually quite a hard way to come into the US, as well as for most countries. If terrorists actually wanted quite an easy way to come in, they can get a student visa or a business person's visa. even H1B is a lot easier.

So with that in mind, I know the other argument about where we have tons of homeless people as well as homeless and ill vets that need help first. And you want to know something you're right. But not only can that be fixed fairly quickly at a local and state level, if those governments want to actually do that and not cut benefits and social housing to give unnecessary tax breaks to big businesses who dont' really need the money; but also it can be addressed at the federal level, if congress didn't concentrate as much on giving the tax breaks for the top 0.01% and actually increase spending on the VA like say 3-4 fold over current levels (as well as getting more competent staff running it). But, that means that both congressional parties would have to stop being "chicken hawks", especially the GOP attm.

That all being said, the rhetoric about this situation is actually downright nasty which it shouldn't be, especially if we were a "judeo-christian nation" like so many claim we are (even if we aren't via the 1st amendment). It makes me wonder if the politicians have ever read and understood the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty by Emma Lazarus. Because if they really understood what it meant, they would look at their own words and proposals and look at them in shame. If they also looked at what they said and compare them to other words and deeds in history, they would also look at them and wonder "what have we become, any better than those who terrorize us?"

I know, I know you'll all look at me and think i'm nuts in saying all that. But look at things from my perspective. In the twin cities, we have refugees all over the place already, whether it's the Somali people who live mainly in Minneapolis, or the Hmong people from Burma who live in my neighborhood in Saint Paul. There could be as many cases made against them as you could against the Syrians how are being proposed to come here. And for the most part, other than an incident here and there, most everyone seems to get along without too much trouble. In Toronto it was much more diverse, with people from over 110 countries on last count. but it seems to work up there.

So what do we do? How about not go nuts and find a way to make it work for those who need the help, whether they are refugees or homless veterans? it might even make us look better on the world stage than we currently do. Don't believe me on that? Here's a show I listened to a bit as I fell asleep during a nap before work. It's called "Cross Country Checkup" on CBC. it's a weekly 2 hour call in show up in Canada, and it has a lot of takes on the news of the day.  And the show yesterday was on the Syrian refugees (link is an mp3 file, but not a small one at 1hr 53 mins). Up there, instead of worrying about all the downsides to the refugees, and believe me Western Canada isn't too dissimilar to Texas and Oklahoma. But even they wanted to help them in a welcoming spirit, willing to raise money as church communities to host these refugees. Whether they were from Halifax, Toronto, Whitehorse, Calgary, Prince Albert, or Vancouver; just about all the callers had the same spirit. Where is that spirit here in the USA? a spirit that is embodied on one of the most prized staues that can be seen entering a country. I would love to see it re-emerge again. Hopefully it will soon.

So there's my take on things. hope it makes some sense, at least as I see things.
how I'm feeling: pensivepensive
what's on now: various