Thursday, 19 February, 2015 – Ummmm—

{ Copied & Pasted from Radio Free Earth News: ———jim w——— }

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Thursday, 19 February, 2015  -( +7˚F / -14˚C  w/’Blowing Snow’ @ 9:30 am near Ithaca )-  -( +16˚F / -9°C   w/Light Snow  @ 10:30 am Closer to Halifax —jim w—)-   —  { Headlines compiled by douglas j otterson & jim wellington, with help from —jda— } { Some things change, some articles remain. Do you know where your survival kit is?  —djo— }

{ CBC is forecasting 2 – 5 cm/ less than 2 inches of snow for our area today. The Weather Network is forecasting 10 – 15 cm/4-6 inches over the next 24 hours. At a little after 10 am I let the boof out to romp in the snow and make some of it yellow. There were two or three flakes per cubic foot in the air. Ten minutes later I had a hungry dog with a wide stripe of wide across his back and it was probably snowing in the ‘moderate’ range. —jim w— }

{ & I thought I could get some novel writing done, but when I sat down there were notices of tweets and I made the mistake of checking them out and they are way too ‘interesting’ – I have to get busy here and tell y’all about them. —djo— }

Autumn leaves

Let’s start out with a bit of colour – Very pretty autumn leaves, don’t know where or when, except that parts of the west and northwestern U.S.A. never see red autumn leaves because their trees only turn yellow and brown.  —djo—

Encouragement during failure is worth more than praise after success.

And a little encouragement is always a good thing. —djo—

War Is Over!

And a bit of Nostalgia/History – & Yoko just had a birthday. —djo—

{ Today’s Birthdays : — You can find all this and more at http://www.historyorb.com/today/birthdays.php 

February 17th: 1781- René-Theophile-Hyacinthe Lannec, France, inventor (stethoscope). 1837- Sam[uel] van Houten, Dutch (lib) minister (child labor laws). 1844- A Montgomery Ward, found mail-order business (Montgomery Ward).  1874- Thomas J Watson, US, representative/founder (IBM). 1908 – Walter L “Red” Barber, Miss, sports announcer (Bkln Dodgers, NY Yanks). 1925  Hal Holbrook, actor (All the President’s Men, Mark Twain), born in Cleveland, Ohio. 1929- Chaim Potok, novelist (Promise), born in NYC, New York. 1936- Jim Brown, St. Simons Georgia, NFL running back (Cleveland Browns). 1939 – Mary Ann Mobley, Biloxi Ms, Miss America-1959/actress (Diff’rent Strokes). 1941 – Gene Pitney, Hartford Ct, vocalist/songwriter (Town Without Pity).  1942- Huey Newton, Black Panther leader. 1957 – Loreena McKennitt, Canadian vocalist & musician. 1962- Lou Diamond Phillips, Philippines, actor (La Bamba, Stand & Deliver). 1963 – Michael Jordan, NBA guard/forward (Chicago Bulls) and sports superstar. 1974-Jerry O’Connell, actor (Scream 2, Andrew-My Secret Identity), born in NYC, New York.

February 18th: 1374- Saint Jadwiga of Poland, Queen of Poland (d. 1399). 1486- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Bengali saint, bhakti yoga developer. 1516- Mary I Tudor, [Bloody Mary], Greenwich, queen of England (1553-58).  1745- Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist and inventor of the 1st [modern] battery, born in Como, Italy (d. 1827). 1836 – Swami Ramakrishna [Gadadhar Chatterji], Hooghly Bengal, Indian mystic/hindu leader (preached unity of religions). 1887  Nikos Kasandsakis, Heraklion, Crete, Greek writer and philosopher (Zorba the Greek, The Last Temptation of Christ). 1906-Hans Asperger, Austrian pediatrician (d. 1980). 1920- Jack Palance, [Walter Palanuik], Lattimer Pa, actor (City Slickers). 1922 – Helen Gurley Brown, Portland Maine, US author/publisher and editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, (d. 2012). 1925 – George Kennedy, actor (Cool Hand Luke, Airport, Blue Knight), born in NYC, New York.  1927- Luis Arroyo, Puerto Rican baseball player. 1930 – Gahan Wilson, American cartoonist. 1932- Milos Forman, Czech/US director (Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus). 1933 –Yoko Ono Lennon, [Mrs John Lennon], Tokyo Japan, singer and artist. 1950- Cybill Shepherd, Memphis Tn, actress (Moonlighting, Last Picture Show). 1952- Juice Newton, [Judy Cohen], Virginia, vocalist (Angel of the Morning). 1953- Robin Bachman, Winnipeg, guitarist (BTO-You Aint Seen Nothing Yet). 1954- John Travolta, Englewood NJ, actor (Welcome Back Kotter, Pulp Fiction). 1957- Vanna White, [Rosich], N Myrtle Beach SC, TV host (Wheel of Fortune). 1964- Matt Dillon, New Rochelle NY, actor (Flamingo Kid, Tex, Kansas). 1968- Molly Ringwald, Roseville California, actress (16 Candles, Pretty in Pink).

February 19th: 1473- Nicolaus Copernicus, Toruń Royal Prussia, Polish mathematician and astronomer (d. 1543). 1881- Evert Gorter, founder of Dutch medical child care. 1912- Stan Kenton, [Newcomb], Wichita Ks, jazz musician (Music 55).  1916- Eddie Arcaro, jockey (1958 Racing Hall of Fame, 2 triple crowns). 1924 – Lee Marvin, actor (Paint Your Wagon, Cat Ballou), born in NYC, New York. 1930  John Frankenheimer, director (Birdman of Alcatraz), born in NYC, New York. 1940-  William “Smokey” Robinson, Det, American R&B and soul singer-songwriter (The Miracles-Tears of a Clown). 1943- “Mama” Cass Elliot, actress (Mamas & Papas-Monday Monday) & Lou Christie [Lugee Sacco], Glenwillard, Pennsylvania, American singer-songwriter (Lightning Striking Again) . 1951 – Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri (Db), Pakistani Islamic Sufi Scholar. 1955 – Jeff Daniels, GA, actor (Something Wild, Dumb & Dumber, Speed, The News Room).  1960- Prince Andrew, Albert Christian Edward, of Britain/Duke of York. 1930 – Gahan Wilson, American cartoonist. 1932- Milos Forman, Czech/US director (Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus). & I’m not sure of the year, a friend and writer/poet in Vermont- Jeff Bender.  }

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{ Canadian Headlines : From :  http://www.cbc.ca/news  <— Link }

Boy, 3, who left Toronto apartment at 4 a.m., dies after spending hours outside   { 🙁 }

‘This is not a bomb’: Why school strip searches for drugs are legally troubling   {* “Police officers and corrections staff across Canada can do strip searches in limited circumstances, but legal experts see little or no justification for school staff strip searching students suspected of carrying drugs, as happened recently with a Quebec teen.” – There is a major controversy brewing over this one. The young woman is 15 years old, was suspended even though no drugs were found. Her parents are suing the school. & I added the linked article to this headline below this section. * —djo— }

Mother of 2 says complaining got her kicked off kidney transplant list   { * The 45 year old mother believes she was kicked off the waiting list because she complained aout her hemodialsis. Doctors say they decided she is mentally ill. * —djo— }

Niagara Falls a spectacular sight in sub-freezing temperatures   {  }

Niagara Falls?

Niagara Falls photo taken on February 17th. I don’t see the falls here, do you?

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Strip-searched girl suspended by Quebec City school

De la Capitale School Board says it suspects 15-year-old of trafficking drugs

CBC News Posted: Feb 19, 2015 9:46 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 19, 2015 5:12 PM ET

School hallway with lockers

“The family of the 15-year-old girl who was strip-searched is now threatening to sue.”

A Quebec City school board says that the 15-year-old girl who was strip-searched by her female high school principal and another female staff member has been suspended and transferred to another school.

Nadine Genest, the principal at Neufchâtel High School, said in a statement Thursday the school had reason to believe the student “was trafficking drugs in our school for several months.”

The De la Capitale School Board, which released the statement, did not explain the exact reason for her suspension.

In the strip search, the girl was asked to remove all her clothing, including her underwear. No drugs were found.

The school board defended the practice, saying it followed strict guidelines drafted in 2010 by the province with the help of police.

Genest said there was no “visual or physical contact with the student” during the search, and it was only done so that they could search her clothes.

Girl’s family planning lawsuit

Meanwhile, the girl’s mother said the family has felt traumatized by the incident and has hired a lawyer.

The mother said she was particularly upset about not being called before — or after — her daughter was strip-searched.

She said her daughter’s requests to call home were twice denied.

The school board said that is not true.

“Contrary to what the mother said, we did offer the student the chance to call her mother, but she refused to make the call,” said Marie-Elaine Dion of the De la Capitale School Board.

The family’s lawyer said he will file a lawsuit alleging the province misinterpreted a 1998 Supreme Court decision involving the drug search of a student in Nova Scotia when it formulated its search policy.

Premier limits strip searches

In response to the controversy, Premier Philippe Couillard announced Thursday there would be no more strip searches in schools, except in extreme cases where police deem it necessary.​

Neufchâtel high school in Quebec City

The word ‘pervert’ was spray-painted Wednesday outside Neufchâtel High School in Quebec City, where the female school principal and another teacher strip-searched the student. (Radio-Canada)

The decision comes after Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc initially defended the school and existing policy around strip searches, setting off a firestorm of criticism.

After taking heat from the public, however, Bolduc altered his stance and said he was concerned by the turn of events.

​Bolduc said Wednesday the government has asked an independent person from outside the school board to look into what happened.

In the statement released Thursday, the De la Capitale School Board said it would co-operate fully with the investigation.

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Weird

A Florida based artist has been told to stop selling miniature versions of the Super Bowl halftime ‘character’ sharks.

Offbeat News:

Netsle and Hershey pledge to make their candy bars healthier   { * I can see them now, Chocolate company executives waking up the candy bars at 4:30 in the morning, screaming at them like drill sargents, and making them run around abandoned World War II boot camps with useless old too-heavy world war one rifles held over their heads, screaming out stupid songs that are supposed to make them feel patriotic instead of idiotic? *  —djo— }

Snowpiercing train bowls over rail fains with the white stuff   {  }

Bison surprises Dryden, Ont. couple in their home, scares cats   {   }

Happy lunar new year, but is it the Year of the Sheep or the Goat?  {  }

 

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Brrrrrr

The Big Chill – Version 2015 – Hits the Maritimes-

Local / New Brunswick / Maritime News:

Larry’s Gulch review findings will ‘absolutely’ be made public   { * This is a New Brunswick ‘scandal’ that sounds way too much like a slight of hand distraction to take your attention away from something else. The Province owns a multi-million dollar fishing lodge where they entertained visiting politicians and invited newspaper reporters who were fired for conflict of interest violations. There also seems to be some confusion over when the lodge went from being ‘private’ to ‘publicly owned’ & where the line between private and public functions was drawn. The new Liberal government has decided that the lodge can only be used for functions designed to bring jobs to New Brunswick.  *** “Any time I hear a politician utter words like ‘jobs’ or ‘Leadership’ I know my ears are about to be assaulted by pure and utter b.s.” — Douglas Jay Otterson *** *  —djo— }

Energy East Pipeline construction training premature, David Coon says.  { * The Energy East Pipeline is a project that is being bitterly contested in Quebec. Activists cite dangers to wildlife, and say the claims of loads of jobs for local people is highly over-estimated and point out that New Brunswick will lose money in this deal unless they re-write the agreement with the corporations that will own the pipeline. And instead of refining and distributing the gas/oil the pipleline is supposed to deliver, here, they claim the resources would be exported, benefiting foreign interests at our expense. Oh, and Irving Oil stands to save and reap loads of money if this goes through. *  —djo— }

Cause of death of Moncton man found outside still unclear   {   }

Dairy farm losses from snowstorm more than a little spilled milk   {  }

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End homelessness now!

End Homelessness Now. It’s much more cost effective to give homeless people a place to live than to leave them out in the cold. —djo—

meanwhile in canada

Conservative Lies cast Environmentalist as terrorists. Well, if the conservative’s jobs are threatened by people telling the truth, maybe they should be in terror. Ya think? —djo—

Harper's an idiot

“Canada Jettisons Rights and Land Claims in a bid to label environmentalists as terrorists.” —djo—

Schnarr

“Anti-Terror Legislation is aimed at labeling Environmental Activists as terrorists.”

Harper -5

The Harper government’s deregulations seen as the real cause of the Lac-Megantic tragedy.

Police State.

-Um, another theory: The ‘War on Drugs’ is a manipulation to keep the ‘street prices’ of drugs high so the C.I.A. and other ‘black-ops’ groups who traffic in those drugs to keep their budgets secret can really cash in on their highly profitable business. They do want a Police State, but the ‘war on drugs’ is just one more strategy designed to bring that about. —djo—

Human Rights under attack

Human Rights are under attack around the world, not just in the USA and Canada

Happiness flows from within.

“Happiness can only be found within” —djo—

— We should quit here and publish this fiasco before we look at the clock and realize it’s next week already and we haven’t gotten anything done in our ‘real lives’  —djo—

Tuesday, 17 February, 2015 – Special Edition: End Homelessness Now!

Special Edition?  Tuesday, 17 February, 2015 – Why we should have ended homelessness a long time ago:

End Homelessness

This tweet led me to the story below. —jim w—

 

End Homelessness? – Copied and Pasted from an article in Mother Jones – March/April 2015 Issue – “Room for Improvement/Clean up cities. Give the homeless a place to live. And save money too? The shockingly simple, surprising cost-effective solution that won over a bunch of conservatives in Utah.” by Scott Carrier –  w/Photos by Jim McAuley

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It’s early December, 10:30 in the morning, and Rene Zepeda is driving a Volunteers of America minivan around Salt Lake City, looking for reclusive homeless people, those camping out next to the railroad tracks or down by the river or up in the foothills. The winter has been unseasonably warm so far—it’s 60 degrees today—but the cold weather is coming and the van is stacked with sleeping bags, warm coats, thermal underwear, socks, boots, hats, hand warmers, protein bars, nutrition drinks, canned goods. By the end of the day, Rene says, it will all be gone.

These supplies make life a little easier for people who live outside, but Rene’s main goal is to develop a relationship of trust with them, and act as a bridge to get them off the street. “I want to get them into homes,” Rene says. “I tell them, ‘I’m working for you. I want to get you out of the homeless situation.'”

And he does. He and all the other people who work with the homeless here have perhaps the best track record in the country. In the past nine years, Utah has decreased the number of homeless by 72 percent—largely by finding and building apartments where they can live, permanently, with no strings attached. It’s a program, or more accurately a philosophy, called Housing First.

Scott Nowlin

Scott Nowlin, 60, was homeless for 20 years before he was given a home as part of Utah’s Housing First program.

One of the two phones on the dash starts ringing. “Outreach, this is Rene.” He’s upbeat, the voice you want to hear if you’re in trouble. “Do you want to meet at the motel? Or the 7-Eleven?” he asks. “Okay, we’ll be there in five minutes.”

Five days ago, William Miller, 63, was diagnosed with liver cancer at St. Mary’s Hospital in Reno, Nevada. The next day a friend put him on the train to Salt Lake City, hoping the Latter Day Saints Hospital might help. For the past two nights he’s been sleeping under a freeway viaduct. He vomits when he wakes up in the morning and has gone through two sets of clothes due to diarrhea. Yesterday he went to the LDS Hospital for a checkup and slept for five and a half hours in a bathroom. Now he’s sitting on the back of the van in a motel parking lot. A friend staying at the motel let him take a shower in his room, but then William started feeling weak, so he called Rene.

“I’m one that rarely gets sick,” he says. “It takes a lot to get me down, but I’m all out of everything.”

“homelessness

He has bushy sideburns and a lot of hair sticking out from a beanie and looks as if he was once much bigger than he is now, like he’s shrinking inside oversized clothes.

“I had two cups of Jell-O yesterday. My buddy got me a cup of coffee and a couple of doughnuts, but I’m gagging and throwing up everything. I’m nodding out talking to people, and that’s not good.”

Rene helps William get in the passenger seat and drives him to the Fourth Street Clinic, which provides free care for the homeless and is where Rene used to work as an AmeriCorps volunteer. He knows the system and trusts the doctors and nurses. William gets out of the van and walks inside very slowly and sits down in the waiting room. Rene checks him in. “I’m a tough old bird,” William says to me. “I ain’t never had something like this. I’m just weak as all get out, and in a lot of pain.”

Watch: Hanging Out With the Tech Have-Nots at a Silicon Valley Shantytown

Then he nods off.

The next stop is at a camp next to the railroad tracks. A 57-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman are living in a three-man dome tent covered with plastic tarps. Patrick says he’s doing okay, even though he’s had two strokes this year and has two tumors on his left lung and walks with a cane.

“My legs are going out. I’m sure it’s from camping out. We were living in the hills for two years,” he says. “My girlfriend, Charmaine, is talking about killing herself she’s in so much pain.” Charmaine is a heroin addict who suffers from diabetes, grand mal seizures, cirrhosis, and heart attacks. “When we lived in the foothills we both got bit by poisonous spiders,” she says, showing me a three-inch scar above her swollen right ankle. “The doctor tried to cut out the infection, but he accidently cut my calf muscle.”

She walks slowly, with a limp. As Rene is getting Charmaine in the van, Patrick takes him aside and asks if maybe Rene could get her into one of the subsidized apartments for chronically homeless people.

“If she comes back here she’ll die,” he says. “Especially with the cold weather coming.”

Rene tells him he’ll look into it.

On the way to the Fourth Street Clinic, I ask Charmaine how many times she’s been to an emergency room or clinic this year.

Patrick Bartholomew

He lost his job, home, and kids to drug use. Now Patrick Bartholomew is clean and has full custody. “I can talk about my story now,” he says. “For a long time I couldn’t.”

“More times than I can count,” she says.

By the end of the day, Rene has met with 12 homeless people, all with drug and alcohol problems, many requiring medical help, all needing the sleeping bags, warm clothes, food, and supplies that he hands out. As the sun sets we head back to the office with an empty van.

“I do it for the money and glamour,” he says, laughing. “No, I mean you cross a line and you really can’t go back, ’cause you just know this is out here.”
We could, as a country, look at the root causes of homelessness and try to fix them. One of the main causes is that a lot of people can’t afford a place to live. They don’t have enough money to pay rent, even for the cheapest dives available. Prices are rising, inventory is extremely tight, and the upshot is, as a new report by the Urban Institute finds, that there’s only 29 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income households. So we could create more jobs, redistribute the wealth, improve education, socialize health carebasically redesign our political and economic systems to make sure everybody can afford a roof over their heads.

Instead of this, we do one of two things: We stick our heads in the sand or try to find bandages for the symptoms. This story is about how Utah has found a third way.

To understand how the state did that it helps to know that homeless-service advocates roughly divide their clients into two groups: those who will be homeless for only a few weeks or a couple of months, and those who are “chronically homeless,” meaning they have been without a place to live for more than a year, and have other problems—mental illness or substance abuse or other debilitating damage. The vast majority, 85 percent, of the nation’s estimated 580,000 homeless are of the temporary variety, mainly men but also women and whole families who spend relatively short periods of time sleeping in shelters or cars, then get their lives together and, despite an economy increasingly stacked against them, find a place to live, somehow. However, the remaining 15 percent, the chronically homeless, fill up the shelters night after night and spend a lot of time in emergency rooms and jails. This is expensive—costing between $30,000 and $50,000 per person per year according to the Interagency Council on Homelessness. And there are a few people in every city, like Reno’s infamous “Million-Dollar Murray,” who really bust the bank. So in recent years, both local and federal efforts to solve the homelessness epidemic have concentrated on the chronic population, currently about 84,000 nationwide.

In 2005, approximately 2,000 of these chronically homeless people lived in the state of Utah, mainly in and around Salt Lake City. Many different agencies and groups—governmental and nonprofit, charitable and religious—worked to get them back on their feet and off the streets. But the numbers and costs just kept going up.

The model for dealing with the chronically homeless at that time, both here and in most places across the nation, was to get them “ready” for housing by guiding them through drug rehabilitation programs or mental-health counseling, or both. If and when they stopped drinking or doing drugs or acting crazy, they were given heavily subsidized housing on the condition that they stay clean and relatively sane. This model, sometimes called “linear residential treatment” or “continuum of care,” seemed to be a good idea, but it didn’t work very well because relatively few chronically homeless people ever completed the work required to become “ready,” and those who did often could not stay clean or stop having mental episodes, so they lost their apartments and became homeless again.

In 1992, a psychologist at New York University named Sam Tsemberis decided to test a new model. His idea was to just give the chronically homeless a place to live, on a permanent basis, without making them pass any tests or attend any programs or fill out any forms.

“Okay,” Tsemberis recalls thinking, “they’re schizophrenic, alcoholic, traumatized, brain damaged. What if we don’t make them pass any tests or fill out any forms? They aren’t any good at that stuff. Inability to pass tests and fill out forms was a large part of how they ended up homeless in the first place. Why not just give them a place to live and offer them free counseling and therapy, health care, and let them decide if they want to participate? Why not treat chronically homeless people as human beings and members of our community who have a basic right to housing and health care?”

Tsemberis and his associates, a group called Pathways to Housing, ran a large test in which they provided apartments to 242 chronically homeless individuals, no questions asked. In their apartments they could drink, take drugs, and suffer mental breakdowns, as long as they didn’t hurt anyone or bother their neighbors. If they needed and wanted to go to rehab or detox, these services were provided. If they needed and wanted medical care, it was also provided. But it was up to the client to decide what services and care to participate in.

The results were remarkable. After five years, 88 percent of the clients were still in their apartments, and the cost of caring for them in their own homes was a little less than what it would have cost to take care of them on the street. A subsequent study of 4,679 New York City homeless with severe mental illness found that each cost an average of $40,449 a year in emergency room, shelter, and other expenses to the system, and that getting those individuals in supportive housing saved an average of $16,282. Soon other cities such as Seattle and Portland, Maine, as well as states like Rhode Island and Illinois, ran their own tests with similar results. Denver found that emergency-service costs alone went down 73 percent for people put in Housing First, for a savings of $31,545 per person; detox visits went down 82 percent, for an additional savings of $8,732. By 2003, Housing First had been embraced by the Bush administration.

“homelessness

Still, the new paradigm was slow to catch on. Old practices are sometimes hard to give up, even when they don’t work. When Housing First was initially proposed in Salt Lake City, some homeless advocates thought the new model would be a disaster. Also, it would be hard to sell the ultra-conservative Utah Legislature on giving free homes to drug addicts and alcoholics. And the Legislature would have to back the idea because even though most of the funding for new construction would come from the federal government, the state would have to pick up the balance and find ways to plan, build, and manage the new units. And where are you going to put them? Not in my backyard.

This is when two men who’d worked with the homeless in Utah for many years—Matt Minkevitch, executive director of the largest shelter in Salt Lake City, and Kerry Bate, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Salt Lake—started scheming.

“We got together and decided we needed Lloyd Pendleton,” Minkevitch said.

Pendleton was then an executive manager for the LDS Church Welfare Department, and he had a reputation for solving difficult managerial problems both in the United States and overseas. He’d also been involved in helping out with homeless projects in Salt Lake City, organizing volunteers, and donating food from the Bishop’s Storehouse. Dedicated to providing emergency and disaster assistance around the world as well as supplying basic material necessities to church members in need of assistance, the Church Welfare Department is like a large corporation in itself. It has 52 farms, 13 food-processing plants, and 135 storehouses. It also makes furniture like mattresses, tables, and dressers. If you’re a member of the church and you lose your job, your house, and all your money, you can go to your bishop and he’ll give you a place to live, some food, some money, and set you up with a job…no questions asked. All you have to do in return is some community service and try to follow the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. A system very much like Housing First—give them what they need, then work on their problems.

Minkevitch and Bate believed if they could get Pendleton to come on as the director of Utah’s Task Force on Homelessness he could mobilize the LDS, unite the different homeless-service providers, and sell the Housing First paradigm to the Legislature. Minkevitch’s agency had a close relationship with LDS leaders; the church had been a big donor for his shelter, The Road Home. Bate had worked with Lt. Gov. Olene Walker, who had just ascended to the governorship when Mike Leavitt was appointed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. He asked her to write a letter to LDS elders, requesting that they “loan” Pendleton to the state. She did, and the church leaders said yes. It was a perfect marriage between church and state.

Once Pendleton took over the task force, he traveled to other cities to study their homeless programs. But he didn’t see anything he thought would work, at least in Utah. “I wasn’t willing to go to the Legislature until we could tell them we had a new goal and a new vision,” he said.

Then, in 2005, after a conference in Las Vegas, Pendleton shared an airport shuttle ride with Tsemberis and got a firsthand account of the Housing First trial. Tsemberis bore his testimony, as the Mormons would say, about the transformative power of giving someone a home.

Kim Hansen

Kim Hansen moved into Grace Mary Manor in 2014, after 15 years of homelessness. Hansen, who once owned a restaurant, now runs the kitchen at another homeless residence.

“Going from homelessness into a home changes a person’s psychological identity from outcast to member of the community,” Tsemberis says. The old model “was well intentioned but misinformed. It is a long stairway that required sobriety and required stability in order to get into housing. So many people could never achieve that while on the street. You actually need housing to achieve sobriety and stability, not the other way around. But that was the system that was there. Some people called it a housing readiness industry, because all these programs were in business to improve people to get them ready for housing. Improve their character, improve their behavior, improve their moral standing. There is also this attitude about poor people, like somehow they brought this upon themselves by not behaving right.” By contrast, he adds, “Housing First provides a new sense of belonging that is reinforced in every interaction with new neighbors and other community members. We operate with the belief that housing is a basic right. Everyone on the streets deserves a home. He or she should not have to earn it, or prove they are ready or worthy.”

When I asked Pendleton if that struck a chord because Housing First seemed akin to the LDS Church Welfare Department, he was careful to insist that “the Mormon church is no different than other Christian churches in this way.” Whatever, he was sold.
Lloyd Pendleton is 74 years old, fit and spry with silver hair and pale-blue eyes that have the penetrating and somewhat mesmerizing stare of a border collie. He grew up relatively poor on a dairy farm and cattle ranch in a remote desert of western Utah and maybe has some cow dog in him.

“As a kid,” he says, “I was expected to do everything on the farm, from building fences to chopping wood to milking the cows. Every year I was given a new pair of work boots and a new pair of Levi’s. That was all my family could afford.”

He earned an MBA from Brigham Young University and was hired straight out of school by the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. “I remember my first day on the job, sitting at a table in the corporate headquarters, looking around and realizing everyone else had gone to Harvard or Yale, and I was just a country hick from Utah. It was intimidating, for sure, but I thought, ‘No one here can outwork me.'”

At Ford, Pendleton began to hone what he calls the “champion method” for getting results. Champions, according to Pendleton, have stamina, enthusiasm, a sense of humor, and they focus on solutions rather than process. Getting stuff done is more important than having meetings. A perfect meeting for Pendleton amounts to him clasping his hands and saying, “Let’s get going and not waste any more time.”

Pendleton asked Tsemberis to come speak to the state task force, which he did, twice. Then Pendleton called a meeting of “all the dogs in the fight” and announced that they were going to run a Housing First trial in Salt Lake City. He told them to come up with the names of 25 chronically homeless people, “the worst of the worst,” and they were going to give them apartments scattered around the city, no questions asked. If it worked for them, it would work for everybody.

“I didn’t want any ‘creaming,'” Pendleton said. “We needed to be able to trust the results.”

Many of the people in the room were uncomfortable with Pendleton’s idea. They were case managers and shelter directors and city housing officials who worked with “the worst of the worst” every day and knew they had serious personal problems—terrible alcoholism, dementia, paranoid schizophrenia. Something bad was sure to happen. There could be lawsuits. And who would be responsible? No, they thought, it will not work.

Pendleton, however, did not want to hear complaints. This was a small-scale trial, and he only wanted them to answer one question: “What do you need to get this done?”

So they did it. They ended up with 17 people and gave them apartments, health care, and services. They took people without a home and made them part of a neighborhood. And it worked, surprisingly well. After nearly two years, 14 were still in their apartments (the other three died), and they are still there today. They haven’t caused problems for themselves or their neighbors, Pendleton says.

The cost of housing and caring for the 17 people, over the first two years, was more than expected because many needed serious medical care and spent some time in hospitals. They were, however, the worst of the worst. Pendleton felt confident that, averaged out over the whole homeless population and over a period of years, they were looking at a break-even proposition or better—it would cost no more to house the homeless and treat them in their homes than it would to cover the cost of shelter stays, jail time, and emergency room visits if they were left on the street. And those “cashable” savings wouldn’t even include less quantifiable benefits for the rest of the state’s residents: reduced wait times at ERs, faster police response times, cleaner streets.

This is when Pendleton announced a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness in Utah by 2015. But finding scattered-site housing wasn’t going to cut it. To house 2,000 chronically homeless people, they would build five new apartment complexes. Around 90 percent of the construction money would come from the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, which gives tax credits to large financial corporations that provide financing for housing authorities or nonprofits to build low-income housing—an average 6 percent profit on their investment. It’s a rather complicated and circuitous route, but it’s politically easier than getting lawmakers to allocate billions for poor people. The remaining 10 percent of construction costs would come from state taxes and charitable organizations. Most of the rent and maintenance on the units would come from federal Section 8 housing subsidies—and, at the time, Utah was fortunate enough not to have a long waiting list. On-site services, such as counseling, would largely be paid for by state and county general-fund dollars.

It took the task force only four years to build five new apartment buildings with units for 1,000 individuals and families. That, and an additional 500 scattered-site units, reduced the number of chronically homeless by almost three-quarters. And nine years into the 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, Pendleton estimates that Utah’s Housing First program cost between $10,000 and $12,000 per person, about half of the $20,000 it cost to treat and care for homeless people on the street.
As anyone who’s followed social services can tell you, however, cheery annual reports can hide a world of dysfunction. So I go to see for myself.

Sunrise Metro was the first apartment complex built following the 2005 pilot study. It has 100 one-bedroom units for single residents, many of whom are veterans. Mark Eugene Hudgins is 58 years old and has brain damage. When I first start talking to him, I wonder if he’s been drinking.

“I always get hassled because I sound a little drunk,” he says. “My brain works a little slow. They drilled a hole in it.”

He had a motorcycle accident in Santa Ana, California, the year after graduating from high school. After that he spent 22 months in the Navy, then worked as a groundskeeper for the aerial field photography office of the Department of Agriculture for 13 or 14 years. He says he was homeless for five years before he came here, but he’s not sure: “My memory is a little fuzzy.”

“This is a nice place to live,” he says. “I put up with them and they put up with me, and it’s a good deal. I like it here.”

While we talk, two other residents come up to listen. One is in a wheelchair. His name is John Dahlsrud, 63, and he says he’s had MS for 45 years. The other guy looks like a weary Santa Claus—Paul Stephenson, 62, a Navy vet who lived for three years in the bushes behind a car dealership.

“The caseworkers are good,” Paul says. “They take us bowling on Saturdays. The apartment pays for one game, we pay for the second game.”

“They let you do what you want,” John adds, “as long as you keep things down to a minimum and don’t run up and down the halls naked.”

“Utilities are included, except for cable,” Paul says. “They gave everybody a free cellphone with 250 minutes a month. We get a pool table, a pingpong table, 60-inch television, eight recliner rockers. They give us food boxes once a month. I got 22 cans of tuna fish last month. There’s nothing to complain about.”

They each receive about $800 a month in Supplemental Security Income, and pay a third of that toward their rent. (The balance is paid via federal vouchers, along with some Utah funds.)

Over at Grace Mary Manor, I am given a tour by the county housing authority’s Kerry Bate—one of the men who helped persuade the LDS church to loan Pendleton to the task force. Grace Mary Manor is home to 84 formerly homeless individuals with disabling conditions such as brain damage, cancer, and dementia. You have to have a swipe card or get buzzed in at the front door, and there’s a front desk manager during the day and an off-duty sheriff at night. Bate explains that one of the biggest problems in giving homeless people a place to live is that they often want to bring their friends in off the street—they feel guilty. So there are rules to limit such visitations.

“It gives the people who live here a way out,” Bate says. “They can blame it on us.”

Tom Pinkerton, 67, from Red River, South Dakota, has cancer of the esophagus. He needs to have surgery, but first has to gain 10 to 20 pounds to make it through the anesthesia. (He has since passed away.) Howard Kelly, 44, from Denton, Texas, has brain damage from falling out of a car when he was a kid. David Simmons, 39, from Texas, was living under a bridge before coming here. I’m no doctor, but I’d guess he has some mental-health problems. Lorraine Levi says she’s “over 50.” Her boyfriend beat her up and broke her back. She needs surgery and is on strong doses of pain meds.

“The average person at Grace Mary was homeless for eight years before coming here, so their health condition is really poor,” Bate says.

On the third floor there’s a library with big leather chairs, nice wooden tables, and a portrait of Grace Mary Gallivan hanging above the fireplace. She died in 2000. Her father was a manager of a silver mine in Park City, and her husband was publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune. Her family foundation put up $600,000 for the construction of the apartment complex, matched by the foundation of the heirs to Utah’s first multimillionaire, David Eccles, who built one of the biggest banks in the West. From a window in the library you can look outside and see a gazebo for picnics and a volleyball court with evenly raked sand.

Bate introduces me to Steven Roach and Kay Luther, young caseworkers who check in on their clients every day to see what they need. They take them to the Fourth Street Clinic and Valley Mental Health, bring food from the food banks—pretty much anything they can do to help.

“The point is to have a service person on-site,” Bate says. “So if Sally Jo is having a crisis, we got somebody here who can help. Their goal isn’t to take everybody off the street and repair them and turn them into middle-class America. Their goal is to make sure they stay housed.”

“We have a guy who goes out to sleep in the park every month, and we have to go get him, talk him into coming back,” Roach says.

“There’s no mandate for participation in substance abuse or mental-health care, but we can certainly encourage it,” Luther says. “We had one guy who got completely clean from heroin and is off working in a furniture store.”

Bate shows me an empty apartment, a fairly spartan studio with linoleum floors, new sheets on the bed, the kitchen stocked with canned food, silverware, plates, etc.

“The church donated all of this,” Bate says. “Before we opened up, volunteers from the local Mormon ward came over and assembled all the furniture. It was overwhelming. For the first several years we were open, the LDS church made weekly food deliveries—everything from meat to butter and cheese. It wasn’t just dried beans—it was good stuff.” (The Utah Food Bank now makes weekly deliveries.)

I ask him if this is why the programs work so well in Utah—because of church donations.

“If the LDS church was not into it, the money would be missed, for sure,” he says, “but it’s church leadership that’s immensely important. If the word gets out that the church is behind something, it removes a lot of barriers.”

“homelessness

“Why do you think they do it?” I ask.

“Oh,” he says, “I think they believe all that stuff in the New Testament about helping the poor. That’s kind of crazy for a religion, I know, but I think they take it quite seriously.”

“Do you think you can meet the goal of eliminating chronic homelessness in Utah by 2015?” I ask.

“Yes,” Bate says, “we have a little less than 272 remaining unhoused, and that’s a number you can wrap your head around. Not like California and other places.”

“So do you think your success can be duplicated in other places?”

“I think it can be duplicated,” he replies. “San Francisco has Silicon Valley. Seattle has Bill Gates. Almost all of our larger cities have local philanthropic organizations that can help a lot with funding and building community support.”
And that’s the question, isn’t it? Can Housing First scale to areas where land and services are expensive, where NIMBYs are accordingly more powerful, places where the full organizational zeal and experience of the LDS church aren’t in evidence, and where data about the benefits of offering the homeless a permanent residence might not withstand the whims of politicians? In New York City, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg rolled out a well-regarded Housing First program focusing on mentally ill individuals. But he then gutted housing subsidies for the general homeless population, including families, after saying he thought they promoted passivity instead of “client responsibility.” Today, homelessness is the highest since the Great Depression, with 60,000 New Yorkers—including 26,000 children—on the streets, in the subway tunnels, and in the city’s sprawling network of 255 shelters, conveniently located far from the playgrounds of the 1 percent. “Every month I get a paper from Welfare saying how much they just paid for me and my two kids to stay in our one room in this shelter. $3,444! Every month!” one exasperated mom told The New Yorker. “Give me $900 and I’ll find me and my kids an apartment, I promise you.” The new mayor, Bill de Blasio, has pledged to reinvest in supportive and affordable housing, but 1 in 5 residents now live below the poverty line, and demand is high.

But the real test case might be California, where 20 percent of the nation’s homeless live. Los Angeles has 34,393 homeless people, more than a quarter of whom are chronically so. San Francisco has 6,408 homeless, Santa Clara County—home to San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley—has 7,567, and housing costs are among the highest in the nation. It takes three minimum-wage jobs to pay for an average one-bedroom apartment there. Tax credits for construction and Section 8 vouchers for rent don’t come close to the actual costs.

That’s the dilemma facing Jennifer Loving, the executive director of Destination: Home, a public-private partnership spearheading Santa Clara’s Housing First program. As in Utah, the leaders of Santa Clara’s initiative were able to marshal different agencies, nonprofits, and private groups, unifying their vision and goals to house the chronically homeless. “At first, it was tough to move out of the shelter way of doing things. It was new to all sit around the same table and change the way the system responds to homelessness,” Loving says.

Like Pendleton, they addressed the chronically homeless cases first. In 2011, in conjunction with a national effort called 100,000 Homes, they began a trial to house 1,000 people who’d been homeless for an average of 18 years and estimated to cost the system upward of $60,000 a year. “Our motto was, ‘Whatever it takes,'” Loving says. “We built the plane as we were flying it.” That meant lots of innovation along the way, such as creating a $100,000 flex fund to do things like pay off small dings on people’s credit, so they could qualify for vouchers and establish rental history: “So if Bob has an eight-year-old violation on his credit history, we’d just pay that off,” Loving says.

By the end of 2014, they had housed 840 people in apartments scattered around the county. The remaining 100 or so have rental subsidies but can’t find a place to live due to exceptionally high occupancy rates. Still, the trial was considered a big success—in part because supported housing only cost an estimated $25,000 per person—and Santa Clara County has now officially adopt­ed the Housing First model. “We made a system out of nothing, and we used it like an assembly line to house people,” Loving says. “And the only thing in our way is the high cost of housing stock.”

So now they’re embarking on a five-year plan to house the county’s remaining 6,000 homeless. First, they’ve launched an extensive study on exactly how much homelessness actually costs taxpayers. Those costs are very hard to determine: There are so many agencies involved—hospitals, jails, police, detox centers, mental-health clinics, shelters, service providers—and they all keep separate records, separate sets of data used for separate purposes, all run on separate pieces of software. “Each department has an information system and a team that looks at the data,” says Ky Le, director of the Office of Supportive Housing for Santa Clara. “They have small teams who know their data best, how it’s configured and why, what’s accurate and what’s not.” Ky says that merging datasets has been “a tremendous effort,” but by integrating and analyzing it, Santa Clara hopes to better understand who’s already a “frequent flier” of clinics and jails, and, more tantalizingly, to develop an early warning system for who is likely to become one, and how they can be housed and cared for in the most cost-effective manner.

New housing needs to be found, or built, but with the market so tight, finding housing—any housing—is a huge challenge, one made worse when Gov. Jerry Brown slashed all $1.7 billion of the state’s redevelopment funds during the 2011 budget crisis. (Those funds have not rematerialized now that California has a huge budget surplus.) So they’re getting creative—”tiny homes, pod housing, stackable—we’re looking at it all,” Loving says. And they’re employing creative financing efforts, like “pay-for-success” bonds, in which investors (mostly foundations) would stake the construction funds and get a small return if the savings materialize for the county.

Madeline Wesson

After a year and a half on the streets of Salt Lake City, Madeline Wesson, 63, moved into Grace Mary Manor when it opened. Seven years later, it’s still home.

Advocates estimate it could take up to a billion dollars, half from grants and philanthropy, the other half in the form of county land and services. “The work we’re going to be doing in the next year,” Loving says, “is determining where and how to create new units and how much they are going to cost and where we can get the resources from—whether it’s private or public money. The money is all here. We have eBay, Adobe, Applied Materials, Google.” The hope is that the emphasis on quantified efficiency will persuade tech firms and billionaires obsessed with metrics that Housing First is a solid civic investment. “It’s fascinating because we have this problem we could totally solve if we wanted to,” Loving says. “We solve complicated problems all the time, right? Silicon Valley is an example of solving complicated problems all the time.”

If places as different—economically, demographically, politically—as Salt Lake City and Santa Clara County can make Housing First work, is there any place that can’t? To be sure, the return on investment will vary, depending on how you count the various benefits of fewer people living in the streets, clogging emergency rooms, and crowding jails. But the overall equation is clear: “Ironically, ending homelessness is actually cheaper than continuing to treat the problem. This would not only benefit the people who are homeless; it would be healing for the rest of us to live in a more compassionate and just nation,” Tsemberis says. “It’s not a matter of whether we know how to fix the problem. Homelessness is not a disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s where we don’t yet have a cure. We have the cure for homelessness—it’s housing. What we lack is political will.”

 

Monday, 16 February, 2015 – News?

{ Copied & Pasted from Radio Free Earth News: ———jim w——— }

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Monday, 16 February, 2015  -( +4˚F / -16˚C  & overcast @ 4:00 pm near Ithaca )-  -( +12˚F / -11˚C   & cloudy  @ 5:00pm Closer to Halifax —jim w—)-   —  { Headlines compiled by douglas j otterson & jim wellington, with help from —jda— } { Some things change, some articles remain. Do you know where your survival kit is?  —djo— } { & Doug tells me he had some problems trying to get this done this evening. Let’s see how we do at this end?  —jim w— }

Web Cam Shot

Between 4 and 4:05 pm – WebCam shot overlooking Ithaca from one of the towers at Cornell U.

2015-feb-16-FredBridgeCam540pm

Looking north from Fredericton’s Downtown side of the Westmorland Street Bridge @ 5:40 pm today.

{ Weather News? Both New York State and New Brunswick have survived the latest major snow storm event. New Brunswick probably got hit harder than New York State did. }

 

{ Today’s Birthdays : — You can find all this and more at http://www.historyorb.com/today/birthdays.php 

February 16th: 1866- Johann Strauss, Austria, composer (Waltz King). 1884- Robert Flaherty, Mich, father of documentary film (Nanook of North). 1903- Edgar Bergen, ventriloquist (Charlie McCarthy), born in Chicago, Illinois.  1909- Hugh Beaumont, Lawrence Ks, actor (Ward Cleaver-Leave it to Beaver) & Richard McDonald, American fast food pioneer (d. 1998). 1911 Hal Porter, Australia, writer (Tilted Cross, Paper Chase). 1912 Machito “Frank Grillo”, Florida, bandleader (created salsa music). 1925 or 1926- John Schlesinger, director (Midnight Cowboy, Darling), born in London, England. 1935- Sonny Bono, vocalist (Sonny & Cher)/(Rep-R-Ca, 1995-98), born in Detroit, Michigan. 1954 – Margaux Hemingway, Portland Or, actress (Lipstick, They Call Me Bruce). 1957 – LeVar Burton, Landstuhl Germany, (Roots, Star Trek Next Generation).  1958- Ice-T [Tracy Marrow], Newark, New Jersey, American rapper and actor (New Jack City, Tank Girl, Crazy Six) & Lisa Loring, actress (As the World Turns, Wednesday-Addams Family) (The original Wednesday Addams on the TeeVee show). 1959 – John McEnroe, Wiesbaden, Germany, American tennis great (US Open 1979-81, 84 Wimb 1981, 83, 84). 1964 – Christopher Eccleston, English actor (Dr Who, Heroes). 1998 – Mr Jefferson, Virginia, 1st cloned calf.  }

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{ Canadian Headlines : From :  http://www.cbc.ca/news  <— Link }

Ottawa drops back-to-work legislation as CP Rail, Union end strike   { * I capitalized “Union” cbc news didn’t.  *  —djo— }

Student says U of T failed to help her avoid attacker   {* The University of Toronto is investigating the way it handled a report of sexual assault after a student says the school failed to help her avoid her attacker in classes she shared with him, CBC News has learned. * —djo— }

Lesley Gore, singer of ‘It’s My Party’ and ‘You Don’t Own Me’, dead at 68   { * I remember seeing her on a local -New Jersey/New York City area- Rock and Roll teevee program, after lip-syncing one of her hits – smile and give the host of the program a list of reasons why she would make the perfect girl friend for Paul McCartney. One of her reasons was that they were both left handed. * —djo— }

RCMP accused of helping mother abduct baby to Australia   { * The father is suing the RCMP, alleging the force helped her commit a criminal offence.  *  —djo— }

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Weird

A Florida based artist has been told to stop selling miniature versions of the Super Bowl halftime ‘character’ sharks.

Offbeat News:

RCMP find stranded seal near Highway 9 in Newtown, N.S.   {  }

Cocaine found in pocket of jacket at Value Village   {  }

Mark Critch locks lips with Danny Williams for IceCaps’s kiss cam   {   }

Scorpion on a plane: Woman stung before flight takes off   {  }

==============

Brrrrrr

-The Big Chill – Version 2015 – Hits the Maritimes-

Local / New Brunswick / Maritime News:

2 Moncton Times & Transcript editors out after ethics probe   {   }

New Brunswick couple stranded in SUV in P.E.I. for 24 hours   {    }

Weekend storm blankets parts of Maritimes with 60 cm of snow   {   }

Moncton’s Claude Gauthier loses Mars One bid   { * & Doug Otterson is singing “Mars Needs Ice-Holes, Lets Send Stephen Harper” *  —jim w— }

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2016 US Federal Elections?

Some of the most accurate ‘prognosticators’/Futurists/’psychics’ believe there won’t be an election in 2016. Some say there will be a Fascist regime which will have declared Martial Law in the USA. Others believe the USA will be paralyzed from strife and infrastructure collapse and won’t be able to function. —djo—

Sunrise - Lions

I thought I should pop something that isn’t completely negative in here before things get out of hand… —djo—

Thunder Snow Reaction

Thunder snow Jim Cantore- the weather channel guy’s reaction in Boston, Mass.

Space Shot

Another non-negative thing, unless this is a galaxy some black ops group just blew up or something… wink —djo—

Leaky Fracking Type Wells & Govt Nonsense

I believe I will need to copy and paste this story below this Re-Tweet. One Comment reads, “Huge North Dakota fail and sell out to Big Oil!!”

 

{     – http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/region/3680221-leaky-saltwater-disposal-wells-allowed-inject-fluid-underground-anyway-review :

Leaky saltwater-disposal wells allowed to inject fluid underground anyway, review shows

DICKINSON, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas has allowed saltwater-disposal wells to continue injecting fluid underground even as mechanical integrity tests – meant to detect weaknesses in the well’s construction – have indicated leaks in parts of the wells’ multiple layers of casing.

—Adverisements deleted—

A review of 449 well files and more than 2,090 mechanical integrity test reports show how state officials conditionally approve disposal wells even after they don’t meet widely accepted pressure testing standards.

Like oil and gas wells, disposal wells consist of multiple layers of steel and concrete tubing that stretch past layers of soil, rock and aquifers, thousands of feet underground. But instead of carrying oil and gas to the surface, injection wells pressurize saltwater – commonly referred to as produced water – shooting it back underground into porous geological formations.

GRAPHIC: Saltwater disposal wells

While the records don’t document any instances of groundwater contamination, they highlight how the agency has allowed wells with structural problems to operate, sometimes for years, even though guidance documents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommend wells with significant pressure losses be repaired within 270 days and that wells with less than two viable layers of casing be shut down during that time.

Officials with the Division of Oil and Gas said they have the authority to approve the wells for use because they were given primary enforcement responsibilities by the EPA, and that the conditional approval of wells are not considered test failures, suggesting the EPA guidance doesn’t apply to those cases.

Mark Bohrer, the agency’s underground injection control manager, said decisions to conditionally approve wells that lose pressure during testing were based on geology and petroleum engineering, and that if there was any threat to drinking water, the wells would be shut down.

“If we had any inkling that there would be contamination of (U.S. drinking water), the well would be shut in,” Bohrer said. “That is the last thing I want to do is contaminate somebody’s freshwater well.”

However, a review of state and federal documents, as well as interviews with geologists, engineers, environmental policy experts and lawyers who have litigated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, suggests the agency is loosely interpreting guidance and protocols that are meant to maintain the multiple layers of protection that separate aquifers from the toxic saltwater.

In parts of North Dakota, rural landowners rely on underground aquifers as a source of drinking water for themselves and their livestock.

“The reason well integrity is important is because if you develop some sort of leak then you could have fluid that moves, in the worst case, up to an aquifer,” said William Fleckenstein, a professor of petroleum engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. “Typically, that is what you are trying to avoid with the variety of integrity tests that are done.”

While saltwater spills on the surface can contaminate soil, leaving behind withered crops and barren patches of land, scientists have found that saltwater contamination of an aquifer can last for decades, with no economically feasible way to clean it up.

“It doesn’t just flush out and disappear,” said Joanna Thamke, a hydrologist with theU.S. Geological Survey, who has studied saltwater contamination of aquifers in Montana and North Dakota.

Saltwater is a mixture of hydraulic fracturing fluid – the water and proprietary chemicals that companies use to break apart shale deposits deep underground – and produced water – the briny solution trapped with oil and gas in those formations.

The toxic mix often contains significant levels of arsenic, lead, ammonium, benzene, bromide, radioactive material and high concentrations of chlorides. In North Dakota, saltwater has been shown to have ammonium levels at 300 times the EPA-recommended limit and chloride levels high enough that if any more salt was added, it wouldn’t be dissolved in the fluid.

While medical researchers have only begun to analyze how low levels of continued exposure to these oil and gas contaminants through the environment can affect people, medical science has already shown that high concentrations of these elements can cause cancer, neurological disorders and birth defects.

Bohrer said there are no reported cases of a saltwater disposal well contaminating an underground aquifer in North Dakota and at no point has the agency placed underground aquifers at risk to contamination.

But energy and public health experts said the long-term impact saltwater can have on an aquifer and the danger the fluid can pose to public health emphasizes the importance of constantly maintaining the mechanical integrity of disposal wells.

“There is a reason well bore integrity is tested,” said Seth Shonkoff, the executive director of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, a think tank that aims to bring scientific transparency to energy and policy issues.

State officials said the EPA guidance documents related to integrity testing don’t hold the same standing as the administrative rules, and that the agency has the authority to choose which EPA guidelines to follow.

“There is a big difference between guidance and having your own (underground injection control) program,” said Alison Ritter, the public information specialist for the Division of Oil and Gas.

But environmental lawyers who reviewed the guidance documents said the state’s actions were legally questionable and could open the agency up to citizen lawsuits or a review by the EPA if enough people petitioned federal officials.

Bohrer said EPA officials were fully aware of how the Division of Oil and Gas operates the injection control program in North Dakota, but federal reports and email responses from the EPA Region 8 office in Denver suggest the federal agency’s oversight of state injection programs is limited due to staffing and budget constraints.

The findings of a Forum News Service investigation come at a time when landowners and Democratic legislators have called for a performance review audit of the Division of Oil and Gas and as agency officials have resisted legislation that would separate their dual roles as the regulator and promoter of the state’s oil industry.

As large surface spills have flowed onto farmers’ fields and into streams, grabbing public attention and causing lawmakers to rethink regulations over oil and saltwater pipelines, the documents highlight another, largely unseen but vital, part of the agency’s regulatory responsibilities.

The integrity reports raise questions about the agency’s criteria for pressure testing and conditional approvals, as the number of operating disposal wells in the state increased from 293 to 486 in the past seven years and the amount of saltwater disposed of jumped from 94 million to 350 million barrels in 2014.

Officials with the Division of Oil and Gas disagreed with the points raised by Forum News Service and in an email response said that if anyone is to fully understand the agency’s underground injection control program they should have a strong background in petroleum engineering and geology.

“The UIC program is highly technical and complex, with regulatory development and implementation evolving over time,” Ritter wrote in an email.

Regulations covering underground injection control programs began in the early 1980s under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, after federal lawmakers recognized the threat that injection wells posed to underground aquifers.

As part of the law, states could apply to take over primary enforcement responsibilities for injection wells, including Class II wells that handle saltwater and other liquid waste produced during the oil and gas drilling process.

When a production well is hydraulically fractured, millions of gallons of saltwater surge back to the surface with the oil, and continue to flow throughout the lifespan of the well. This large influx of liquid waste requires companies to dispose of the toxic fluid as long as the well is in operation.

While injecting saltwater underground has been shown to be a better option than attempting to treat the fluid or storing it in pits, environmental policy experts point out that the strict guidance regarding injection wells is in place to eliminate any chance of the steel and concrete tubing becoming pathways through which saltwater leaks into or near an underground source of drinking water.

In order for the Division of Oil and Gas to take over the underground injection control program in 1983, the state had to adopt rules that met minimum standards for construction, permitting, monitoring, enforcement and plugging of the wells.

But while those rules require wells to pass mechanical integrity tests every five years without a “significant leak,” Bohrer said the agency doesn’t have guidance to define what a significant leak is.

The most common mechanical integrity test conducted is a standard annular pressure test (SAPT) where the annulus, the space between the casing and production tubing, is pressurized with liquid to see if it holds.

Since the 1980s, at least 13 states and the EPA have adopted administrative rules or guidance defining the standards for pressure testing, including some of the country’s largest oil producing states, like Montana, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

In all of those cases, the rules and guidelines state that tests are considered failures if a well loses more than 5 to 10 percent of the pressure placed on the annulus over 15 to 30 minutes.

Officials with the Division of Oil and Gas took issue with the comparison of rules and guidance in other parts of the country, because those states don’t have the same geology as North Dakota, which they said is well suited for underground injection.

During an interview, Bohrer said the accepted standard for a passing pressure test is less than a 10 percent drop over 15 minutes, but state records show the agency allows companies to continue injecting fluid underground even as wells lose 11, 30 or even 70 percent of the pressure during testing.

Bohrer said the decision to conditionally approve a well is made on a case-by-case basis and that the companies have to accept certain operating rules, like yearly testing and extra pressure monitoring to make sure the production tubing – the innermost layer of steel piping that saltwater is injected through – isn’t leaking. He said operators are ordered to immediately shut in the well if a leak in the production tubing is detected.

During an interview, the Division of Oil and Gas’ staff referenced an EPA guidance document from 1992 to show it had the authority to allow wells to continue operations after significant pressure losses, but when it was pointed out in follow-up emails that the guidance document calls for wells to be repaired or plugged within 270 days, the agency stated the document didn’t apply because conditional approvals were not failures.

That same document also states that if officials can’t handle the “administrative burden” of “additional inspections” and data monitoring, they shouldn’t allow wells to operate within those 270 days.

When state inspectors conditionally approve an injection well for use in North Dakota, it requires integrity tests to be performed annually instead of every five years, and mandates that annulus pressure readings be checked monthly, like the wells’ permitted surface injection pressure.

But officials with the Division of Oil and Gas said they fully accept the extra inspection and monitoring burden and that the agency doesn’t have any problems meeting its existing regulatory duties.

When asked whether the Division of Oil and Gas collects the additional pressure readings from conditionally approved wells for monitoring purposes, Bohrer said that the agency does not and that it is up to field staff to check the readings during monthly inspections. He said companies are expected to keep those readings for several years, but the agency does not collect them as part of the well history.

“These requirements are not considered burdensome to our regulatory program, as we already inspect all UIC wells at least monthly and witness all (mechanical integrity tests),” Ritter wrote in an email response.

According to a 2014 legislative audit, the Division of Oil and Gas agreed that agency-wide inspections were not being completed within the timeframes established, but said that around 75 percent of the injection wells in the state were being visited on a monthly basis, which it said was the best rate in the country.

Ritter said the Division of Oil and Gas has 32 field inspectors and three staff members in the Bismarck office to oversee the operations of the 486 active disposal wells. The field inspectors also have other regulatory responsibilities, like rig and production well inspections.

The Division has requested another 16 full time employees to handle the agency’s permitting, monitoring and enforcement efforts.

Officials with the Division of Oil and Gas said higher emphasis is placed on disposal wells that are conditionally approved and that the monthly inspection of pressure readings and the proper construction of the wells – usually with two outer layers of steel and cement running from the surface to below the aquifer – leaves little to no chance that saltwater can escape the well.

“If your well is properly constructed, there is really no avenue available for that fluid to migrate,” Bohrer said.

‘The absence of adequate data’

While the vast majority of the wells that were reviewed had a surface and production casing running past the aquifer, state records show the Division of Oil and Gas has conditionally approved wells that only have one external layer of casing next to underground sources of drinking water.

Bohrer said there is no rule requiring injection wells to have two or more layers of external casing to operate, but according to the EPA guidance documents, wells that fail an annular pressure test and only have one external layer of casing should be shut in unless officials can verify that the leak isn’t located near the underground source of drinking water.

  • In May 2011, the Pan Am 501 disposal well in Burke County failed three consecutive pressure tests, but while the operator was initially ordered to stop injections until it could pass, inspectors allowed the well to operate for four days between the second and third test. It was only after the third test that inspectors noted the well only had one outer layer of casing next to the aquifer. When the well was tested for a fourth time in June 2011, it was conditionally approved after losing 10 percent of the testing pressure. It operated under that conditional approval for 16 months until it failed a test in December 2012. During that failure, the well could not be pressurized, suggesting the leak got significantly worse. After that fourth failure, the company installed a liner inside the production casing.
  • The Klandl 26-31X disposal well in McKenzie County has either been conditionally approved or in violation of mechanical integrity rules for much of the time between 2003 and 2012. But while it was noted in July 2007 that the well only had one layer of casing located at the depth of the aquifer, inspectors have continued to allow the well to operate under conditional approvals, even as it has lost significant pressure during testing. Over much of that time, records suggest the operator has injected saltwater at pressures above its permitted limit until March 2014, when state officials finally recognized the violation and the well was shut down.

In an email, Ritter wrote that The Press’ interpretation of the guidance – which was substantiated by lawyers consulted for the story – was flawed because a well’s tubing, casing and cement are each considered a layer of protection.

But the 1987 EPA document states that “if the outer casing is breached, even if there is cement behind the casing,” the well should be considered a significant non-compliance and be shut in until it is repaired or plugged.

In the cases of the Pan Am 501 and Klandl 26-31X disposal wells in Burke and McKenzie counties, pressure testing indicated leaks in the casings, and since both wells only had one outer layer of casing near the aquifers and the location of leaks cannot be determined by pressure testing, it left them with only one verifiable layer of protection remaining – the inner production tubing.

Bohrer said the agency meets all of the minimum standards required by federal law and that EPA guidance documents were drafted for the entire country, not for North Dakota.

“We try to mirror those things that are applicable to our situations in North Dakota,” Bohrer said. “Those are national documents – one size fits all – and we take the parts that are applicable to our state.”

Lawyers consulted for the story said the EPA guidance documents may not have the same legal standing as a rule, but argued those guidance documents are put in place to fill in the administrative gaps that rules don’t address.

“It isn’t an issue of whether there are laws on the books – in this case whether we have laws that regulate underground injection,” said Andrew Reid, an environmental and natural resources law professor at the University of Denver. “The issue is whether the state is going to enforce it and live up to the responsibility of protecting the citizens and the natural resources of the state.”

If the issue was addressed in court, Parenteau said the administrative rules and guidance documents would be reviewed as a whole.

“You have to look at all of these documents together,” he said. “That is what a judge would do.”

Business realities

When an injection well fails a mechanical integrity test and is shut down, it can cost operators tens of thousands of dollars in lost profits and repairs.

The most common repair for a disposal well is a tubing replacement, where a workover rig pulls the internal production tubing out of the well, checking it for holes and weaknesses and replacing the sections of the steel or fiberglass pipe that are leaking.

“At the end of the day, if you have a hole in your production tubing, it’s a simple matter to change that out,” said Fleckenstein, who is currently working on a National Science Foundation project studying the effects of gas development on air and water resources.

But if a pressure test indicates a hole in the well’s casing, which records show is often the case for wells that are conditionally approved, the repairs can be more difficult.

There is no way to replace the casing, Fleckenstein said, but it can be fixed by forcing cement down the well’s annulus to seal off leaks or by installing a liner inside the production casing.

Installing a casing liner the entire length of an injection well, which stretches thousands of feet, can drive up the cost of repairs, Fleckenstein said, and is usually done when a cement squeeze doesn’t work.

“It can start to cost money,” he said.

But shutting in a disposal well can have far bigger ramifications than repair costs for a single operator.

When an injection well shuts down, it can create a ripple effect in the oil industry, Bohrer said, requiring all of the oil wells that pipe or truck saltwater to that disposal site to stop production or find another well in the area.

“Should that be done in certain instances? Certainly,” Bohrer said. “It’s just the price you have to pay.”

But numbers suggest it’s difficult for a disposal well in the state to shut in operations without affecting the production wells that rely on it.

Between 2007 and 2014, the amount of saltwater disposed of in North Dakota increased by 270 percent, while the number of disposal wells handling that fluid increased by only 65 percent.

Bohrer said those business and economic realities and the state’s effort to reach and exceed 1 million barrels of oil produced per day doesn’t play any part in the agency’s decisions to conditionally approve disposal wells for use.

“That is not a significant contributing factor,” Bohrer said.

Shut ins, landowners and coincidences

In Bottineau County, the Division of Oil and Gas has begun to shut down wells that lose significant pressure during testing, even when operators request conditional approvals.

At five saltwater disposal wells in the county, inspectors have issued failures for pressure losses of more than 10 percent and ordered companies to shut down operations until the wells can be repaired or plugged, as EPA guidance recommends.

Prior to those failures, two of the wells were given conditional approvals even as they lost between 26 and 50 percent of the testing pressure.

But over the past year and a half, as members of the Northwest Landowners Association have began monitoring those wells – inspecting publicly available files, requesting documents from the Division of Oil and Gas and testifying at legislative hearings – all five of the wells have been shut in after failures.

  • The Jesperson 31-29 disposal well was shut down in November 2013, after losing 28 percent of the pressure during testing. Prior to that, the well had been conditionally approved since January 2007, even as it lost 28 to 50 percent of the pressure during testing.
  • The Cramer 1 disposal well was shut down in September 2014, after losing 25 percent of the pressure applied during testing. After the test, the operator had requested a conditional approval from the Division of Oil and Gas but was denied.
  • The Leo Hallof 1 disposal well was shut down in November 2014 after losing 30 percent of the testing pressure. The well had previously been conditionally approved after losing 26 percent of the testing pressure in February 2009.
  • The Peterson 2 disposal well was shut down in November 2014 after losing nearly all of the testing pressure over several minutes.
  • The Lillie Farms Partnership 1 disposal well was shut down in November 2014 after losing 50 percent of the testing pressure. It has since been repaired.

One of the wells, the Peterson 2, is also at the center of an ongoing lawsuit over the cleanup of multiple surface spills.

Officials with the Division of Oil and Gas said they were unaware that the landowners – who are some of the most vocal critics of the agency – were checking on those wells and that decisions to shut down those operations until they could pass integrity tests were based on the wells’ history, performance, geology and construction.

“If there is a lawsuit, that doesn’t tell me that they are monitoring it,” Bohrer said. “That has absolutely no influence on our decisions here in this office.”

Lynn Helms, the Department of Mineral Resources director, was deposed by lawyers representing Daryl Peterson, the landowner in the reclamation lawsuit, the same day that The Press met with Bohrer and the staff of the Division of Oil and Gas on Jan. 27.

Bohrer said the fact that all five disposal wells were shut in, after the landowners began looking into the wells, was a coincidence.

He said the agency’s focus is, and has always been, on protecting underground sources of drinking water.

“We take great pride in our program,” Bohrer said. “We inject well over 1 million barrels of saltwater per day, and I think our track record speaks for itself.”   – }

==============

Radio CAnada is the French Language Radio service of the CBC. If they hate Stephen Harper's values, they have good reason to. He's trying to unfund and shut them down. A lot of Canadians Hate Stepen Harper. He's a Fascist dictator pretending to be a 21st century nice guy. Nice guy He is NOT!

Radio Canada is the French Language Radio service of the CBC. If they hate Stephen Harper’s values, they have good reason to. He’s trying to unfund and shut them down. A lot of Canadians Hate Stephen Harper. He’s a Fascist dictator pretending to be a 21st century nice guy. & Nice guy He is NOT! —djo—

{ — Experiencing weird problems with this, I better publish now, reboot and try to finish up shortly.  —djo— }

 

Orange Cats find trouble anywhere

Hey, Jim & Cathi – Do you know where your orange cat is? —djo—

Man swimming in frozen water to save dog.

If I knew it was this easy to translate stuff I’d have been doing that all along. Even if I have absolutely no use for bing. —djo—

Balloon Sunrise (Bagan?)

Dang! Too many good ‘fluff’ photos today. Well, maybe it’s more positive and would have a better effect on the collective psyche than sticking to ‘hard core news’. Ya think? & I’ve never been able to follow any of the links on these Buddhist tweets.  —djo—

{ Okay, we’ve crashed twice, once when I first tried to include the photo of the orange cat between the horse and the dog, & again when I tried to add the photo of the balloons. && Between those two crashes WordPress told me I had to sign in again. Whattaya think? is there a conspiracy afoot here? 😉 }

==============

Oile Train fire in West Virginia

Oil Train derailment in West Virginia – one comment was ‘It should have been shipped via pipeline’ But are pipelines any safer? We need to switch from oil and gas to other, cheaper, more dependable renewable sources. —jim w—

Australian Demonstration

Looks like things are getting nasty in an Australian dispute between coal mining interests and aboriginals and conservationists and others concerned with trying to save a rare Australian forest from destruction by the mining company. —jim w—

Sustainable Energy

Jimmy Carter’s Presidency was cut short by the Iran Hostage Crisis – Which may have been orchestrated with the help of outgoing Republicans? Who knows? Anyway- with Habitat for Humanity and other projects he’s endorsed, Jimmy Carter might be the most popular ex-President alive in the US today. —jim w—

{ I better quit here, too, funny things are happening in the bloggish-sphere —   —jim w— }

{ — Quitting while we’re ahead, I think Jim had some stuff to add, but he can do that later.  ———djo——— }

10:00 pm – Still Snowing – Copied & Pasted Rant from Ithaca

{ Copied & Pasted from ‘Canadian News & Insight‘ : }

==============

Sunday, February 15th, 2015  -( -15°C / +5°F With ‘Light Snow’ falling in Atlantic Canada @10:10 pm Atlantic Time )- & -( -19°C / -2°F with ‘light snow showers’ in the Ithaca area @ 9:10 pm Eastern Time )-

— I just watched the CNN program “The Sixties” – the ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll’ episode on CNN up here in Blizzardville. I may be uniquely qualified to understand what happened in the sixties and to see through their bull chips and propaganda as they try to put their spin on things. Then the commercials come on- “Fracking will save Amerika and sparkle our economy into marvels you can’t imagine.” Bull! It will totally destroy any quality of life you imagined you could have. Next Commercial Boeing Aircraft. Those wonderful purveyors of unimaginable b.s. as they helped the military industrial complex develop weapons they want to use against you, their own country’s citizens. It made me sick. A few more US commercials I’ve missed lately and I’m convinced that television is being used by evil manipulating ice holes to try to control you through subliminal b.s. and hidden messages within messages on a level your brain cannot grasp. To mis-quote John B Wells, “Where are you going and why are you in this hand-basket?”

— Last night on Coast to Coast a.m. – guest host Connie Willis interviewed Preston Nichols, a participant in the ‘Montauk Project’, which sprang from the Monarch Project, which developed out of ‘MK-ULTRA’ – Mr Nichols said that participants in the ‘Project’ didn’t like the way it was going, with ‘throw away boys’ being raped and butchered in experimental exercises to condition and mind-control potential ‘Super Soldiers’ who supposedly have been used in ‘off-planet’ operations, time travel, wars with and against other planetary ‘aliens’; evil bull-chips operations on this planet and more. I’m going to take this stuff with more than a couple grains of salt. Mr Nichols said he went into the future and he believes our civilization came to an end in the early 2020’s. He said this was adjusted so the end happened in 2023. My feeling is that Preston Nichols had his own memories tampered with, that he believes what he told the world last night, but he was fed a line of disinformation and he’s passing that on to the rest of us. One curious thing though, he tried to talk about a split coming, with judgment going down in the early 2020’s to see who is positive enough to be allowed to go on to live in the ‘New Earth’ which he hinted would be a major tweak in the ‘matrix’ of the holographic projection that is the material universe. The funny thing is, one of the first un-finished stories I read, — written by my friend and co-web-geek/co-editor in our weird news blogging, Jim W— starts off with a newly divorced guy jogging around his his old neighbourhood and bumping into a woman he kind of liked who invited him to a party she really didn’t want to go to, but she couldn’t say no to her ‘upwardly mobile’ friends –  and during the party, on a beautiful sunny day in May, a world killing blizzard develops and the jogger and his friend barely manage to get back to his house when they set out to get a couple supplies the party goers asked for, and discover that his house sits on a portal, one side of the house is sunny and warm and the other side is becoming ‘zocked in’ by the killer blizzard. A Native American/First Nations medicine man leads his tribe of survivors to the jogger’s home and asks that they be allowed to walk through to the springtime and leave the dying world behind. Jim had to explain to me that the main characters were going to find out that their world had split into two dimensions and the positive tree huggers and earth honouring people would live in plenty and harmony and the negative greedy people would be trapped in a world that was about to kill off 99% of it’s population and reduce the survivors to cave-man stone age levels. He told me that writing that became too painful, but that he might be able to finish it some day, I’m still waiting. But with Preston Nichols talking about the ‘split’ I wondered if my friend had tapped into something that was way too close to the truth about what might happen within the next ten years or so. Now that’s a chilling thought.

— Anybody out there remember the saying, “If Hitler had television, we’d all be speaking German right now?” Well, what if all of the paper clipped Fascists and Nazis brought over to the US and other ‘bastions of the free world’ brought their fascism with them and they secretly put their plans to work and now they’re almost at the point where they don’t care who knows what they’re up to because they just about have everything under control and their latest ‘Final Solution’ involves flipping a switch and broadcasting perfect mind-control commands through everybody’s television sets? Anybody who resists can have their smart meters cause catastrophic fires and/or trigger other toxic ‘accidents’ to kill off dissidents? Or maybe nano-particles you’ve been fed along with your ‘modified corn sweetener’ and other G.M.O. poisons can be triggered to cause heart attacks and/or other internal organ failures that will take you out of the picture?

—Sigh, sweet dreams, Amerika-

———djo———

==============

6 pm – Part Two of the Sunday Blizzard?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015  -( -14°C / +7°F & Snowing in Atlantic Canada @6:10 pm Atlantic Time )- & -( -19°C / -3°F & ‘blowing Snow’ in the Ithaca area @ 5:10 pm Eastern Time )-

— More photos after we shoveled a path for the dog so he can move inside his fenced in area & Another path from the porch door to the snowblower shed on the driveway side of our house:

Interesting 001

Interesting (?) bit of wind blown natural snow sculpture at our porch door.

Interesting 002

Same odd bit of wind sculpted snow at the door from a straight up and down angle.

interesting 003

3rd angle of the same bit of wind blown snow.

interesting 004

The path through 3 feet deep snow drifts. It was tough shoveling, couldn’t look into the wind to see what I was doing- but I managed.

interesting 005

More interesting wind-sculpted-snow-drifts – looking toward the buried jeep at the corner of the house where the mailbox is (around the corner there).

interesting 006

And I hope you can see the nice ridge, higher than the van’s headlights, that the friendly neighbourhood snowplow left us – before the plows were pulled off the road (?) because they couldn’t see where they were going.

— About fifteen minutes ago, we had an apparent lull in the storm and wondered if it was time to go out and try to make a first pass with the snowblower. When I got to the door, I saw that the snow was still coming, it was so fine you couldn’t see the individual flakes on the security/deer cameras. But the wind was still blowing and it didn’t look like a good idea to go charging outside and use up all the gasoline we have left until we can get out and get to the nearest gas station.

— And now, the bigger wind-driven flakes are back in the visibility range – one interesting aspect of this storm. One camera that is still indoors, facing a window, can see only a sliver of black above a window full of wind blown snow.

— Heavy sigh.

~~~~~ Jim

==============

Noon here on Sunday, Interesting sculpture from the howling wind and snow

Sunday, February 15, 2015 -( -14°C / +7°F & Snowing Heavily in Atlantic Canada at noon Atlantic Time )- -( -18°C / 0°F & Snowing in the Ithaca, New York area at 11:00 am Eastern Time )-

Wind/Snow Sculpture

Noon. Some of the wind-sculpture out the porch door on February 15th, 2015. —jim w—

Snowy Stormy Driveway.

More wind and snow sculpture, looking at the driveway right around noon.

Jassper in the storm.

Jassper, ‘boofing’ at the snowflakes. Noon-ish.

Looking toward Canada Street.

Looking over Jassper’s head toward the road we can’t see under the snow at the bottom of the hill, out what Cathi calls our ‘back door’. Noon on February 15th, 2015. —jrw—

— The howling wind is blowing so hard no snow has built up on top of the van in our driveway. Route 2 between Fredericton and the U.S. border is closed due to the storm. They ‘don’t want anybody to be stuck in the storm near the border’. —schnarr— The ‘Confederation Bridge’ is not allowing high sided trucks to make the journey from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. Moncton’s city services are shut down. The one p.m. news just called for 30 to 40 centimeters -12 to 16 inches. “Snow and blowing snow will continue into Monday.”

— Ah- email from Doug:

Cornell Cam

Web Cam in Ithaca at 11:20 am today – emailed by Doug Otterson

Cornell Web Cam Valentine's Day.

“6:39 pm on Valentine’s Day. Two minutes ago somebody was standing near the “David” legend in the snow, jumping up and down, waving at the camera.” —djo—

Cornell Web Cam V.D.Day 2014 Snow

“6:40 pm. Coloured light pools in the blustery snow storm.” —djo—

— And now the swirling wind blown snow is spattering the window in front of the deer cams that have not been moved into place yet.

— And Doug’s email message says the sun is trying to peek out from behind the clouds in the Ithaca, New York area.

{ Today’s Birthdays : — You can find all this and more at http://www.historyorb.com/today/birthdays.php & They have a ‘Follow on Twitter’ link on their site.

February 15th: 1564- Galileo Galilei, Pisa Italy, astronomer/physicist. 1710- Louis XV the Well-Beloved, Versailles, King of France (1715-74)). 1797- Henry Engelhard Steinway, piano maker (Steinway).  1809- Cyrus Hall McCormick, Shenandoah Valley Virginia, American inventor (Mechanical reaper). 1820- Susan B (Brownell) Anthony, Adams Mass, woman’s suffragette. 1822  John Barrymore, [Blythe], Phila, actor (Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde). 1892- James Forrestal, US, banker/minister of Navy. 1899- Lillian Disney, Mrs Walt Disney. 1905- Harold Arlen, [Hyman Arluck], US, composer (Over the Rainbow). 1907- Cesar Romero, American actor (Joker-Batman, Ocean’s 11), born in NYC, New York. 1927- Harvey Korman, actor (Carol Burnett Show, Blazing Saddles), born in Chicago, Illinois. 1931- [Patricia] Claire Bloom, actress (Charly, Look Back in Anger), born in London, England. 1951- Jane Seymour, [Joyce Frankenberg], England, actress (Dr Quinn) & Melissa Manchester, Bronx NY, vocalist (Don’t Cry Out Loud). 1954- Matt Groening, cartoonist (Life in Hell, Simpsons). 1971- Renee O’Connor, actress, (Xena Warrior Princess).  1980- Conor Oberst, American singer and songwriter (Bright Eyes).  } ( Also, Helen Lewis, My Grandparents’ next door neighbour on Ward Street in the old days- )

— Yum?

~~~~~ Jim

Expecting the next major snow event —

Saturday, 14 February, 2015 -( -15°C / +5°F & just a few early flakes dancing around in Atlantic Canada @ 11:10 pm )-

— I took Jassper le Boof – our too smart for our own good hundred and twenty five pound Labrador Retriever for a bit of a walk up the street at about 9 pm. It was a bit nippy. When we got about halfway up the shortish street we live on here, we noticed that the snow banks were piled up taller than me (I’m 6′ 3″ tall) and wondered how tall those walls will be after tomorrows projected monster storm. We got a break last week, after three or four major snow events in two weeks. I thought we got almost as much snow in those two weeks as we did in most of last winter. Maybe I didn’t count the April Fool’s Day blizzard in that. After all, April’s supposed to be in the springtime, right? Jassper is a handful. We took him to puppy school and we were doing fairly well with an almost well behaved, over-enthusiastic brute of a dog -but not quite as brutish as ‘Bear’ a Newfoundland dog maybe one and a half times Jassper’s size, who acted like he would bite Jassper’s head off if he tried to get too friendly without Bear initiating the friendliness, and Bear had a thing for a cute, comparatively little Cocker Spaniel and didn’t want Jassper to get any ideas about being friendly with her… But anyway. We had a ‘guest’ visit for a couple weeks that turned into a couple years and he blew most of Jassper’s training out the window. I spent 75% of our walk calling out, “Slow down- Take it easy!” “Easy!” “NO! Let’s not go there-” “No- Don’t even think about entering that little dog’s territory-” “Easy-” “NO- you don’t want to dig anything up there-” “No, you can’t eat that-” “Easy- Easy-” “Slow down-” And the second half of our walk was down hill and I had to constantly rein him in, hold him back and do my best not to slip on the hard packed snow and bits of ice- But we survived and enthusiastic to a fault perennial puppy got home and had a couple treats and went through his, “Okay- I’ll pretend it’s time for bed- I get another treat for that, right?” Routine, and he went into his crate, we closed the door, and pulled down the sheet that used to keep him safe and quiet all night, but now lasts maybe twenty minutes if we’re lucky. Then we dealt with two cats who keep trying to demand their evening routine a few minutes earlier every day-

— The first few snow flakes showed up on our ‘security’/deer cam at about 9:30. And it’s acting like the first few scouts from an incredibly massive army of invading snow people, zooming in, looking around, blowing off to check out the neighbourhood for choice locations to land and set up sites for mind blowing communities of intrusive snow flake beings.

— My co-editor in the blogged news world is already dealing with heavy snowfall in “Upper New York State” and we might skip our issue tonight- but we’ve been a bit sporadic lately due to ‘widespread flu outbreak’ red filled areas of the Map of the USA, and Both Cathi and I have been battered by something- be it a weird cold or flu or combination of the above-

— So I’ll look through the famous birthdays on February 14th and list a few below:

{ Today’s Birthdays : — You can find all this and more at http://www.historyorb.com/today/birthdays.php & They have a ‘Follow on Twitter’ link on their site.

February 14th: 1572- Hans Christoph Haiden, composer. 1818- Frederick Douglass, African-American abolitionist/lecturer/editor (exact year unknown). 1894- Jack Benny, [Benjamin Kubelski], Waukegan Ill, “Oh! Rochester!”.  1896- Arthur Milne [Edward Arthur Milne], Hull Yorkshire, English Astrophysicist (kinematic relativity). 1902 Thelma Ritter, Brooklyn New York, American actress (Miracle on 34th Street). 1913  James Pike, bishop (Beyond Anxiety), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma &  Jimmy Hoffa, Teamsters leader who disappeared in 1975 &  Mel Allen, Birmingham Alabama, American sportscaster (voice of NY Yankees). 1916- Edward Platt, Staten Island NY, actor (Chief-Get Smart). 1921- Hugh Downs, Akron Oh, TV journalist (20/20, Concentration). 1922- Murray “the K” Kaufman, NYC DJ (5th Beatle). 1929 or 1931- Vic Morrow, American actor, Bronx NY, (Combat, Roots, Twilight Zone the Movie) (d. 1982). 1934- Florence Henderson, Dale Ind, actress/singer (Carol-Brady Bunch). 1943- Eric Anderson, vocalist (Avalanche, Be True to You), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 1944- Carl Bernstein, Washington Post investigative reporter (Watergate). 1945- Gregory Hines, actor/dancer (White Nights, Taps), born in NYC, New York. 1948- … Teller, Phila, magician (Penn & Teller). 1960- Meg Tilly, [Margaret], actress (Big Chill, Impulse), born in Los Angeles, California  1963- Zach Galligan, actor (Gremlins), born in NYC, New York.  }

— && That’s more than I expected to write here tonight-

— Good Night, Sweet Dreams- Hope you had a wonderful Valentines’ Day   —jim w—

Saturday, 14 February, 2015- Happy Vantines Day

Saturday, 14 February, 2015 -( -15°C / +5 °F & cloudy here in Atlantic Canada at 7:45 pm — Our Weather applets say it’s snowing heavily in Ithaca with -7°C / +20°F @ 6:45 pm Eastern Time )- My Godfather, Larry Toronto’s birthday. –

Deer

We had ‘Committee’ presence while my step daughter was here earlier this evening. Shooting through plastic and window screen in order not to spook them does not give us the best quality photos in this world, but you can see how close they were to the porch- —jim w—

Deer munching

Another photo of the deer munching on oats near our porch from a slightly different angle. ‘Holiday lights’ are reflected around the deer- —jim w—

 

Cathi

My favourite Valentine clowning with a cup of Tim Hortons coffee in our kitchen. -We got her daughter a cup of hot chocolate – She’s all grown up now and is a Registered Nurse with a University Degree in Nursing from Western Ontario U. – Still wonderful, she hasn’t lost the charm she had as a cute nine year old. (the daughter, not Cathi- I didn’t know Cathi when she was 9 years old. I wonder what might have been different if we met back then. ( She might have thought I was a decent father figure, a cool big brother type, or hated my guts forever?) —jim w—

— So, the latest forecast is for between one and two feet of snow here tomorrow. ( 30 to 40 centimeters in the next 24 hours, possibly 50 centimeters before it stops raging on Monday? 60 centimeters would be just about 2 feet.)

— Ya know? Nobody asked me if I thought it would be a good idea for Canada to go on the metric system. And nobody asked the Canadians who were there in those days what they thought and felt about that. The idiots who thought they had a right to make that decision just did it. Wait until they get to the next life and they can’t get through the pearly gates because they don’t know how big a cubit is? Eek, there would be one heck of a lot of homeless spirits panhandling outside the gates if we have to know that one…

— I better quit for now.

~~~~~ Jim

Friday, 13 February, 2015 -News?

{ Copied & Pasted from Radio Free Earth News: ———jim w——— }

========================

Friday, 13 February, 2015  -( +6˚F / -14˚C  & clear, The Sun is still bright @ 5:00 pm near Ithaca )-  -( +9˚F / -13˚C   & becoming dusk  @ 6:00pm Closer to Halifax —jim w—)-   —  { Headlines compiled by douglas j otterson & jim wellington, with help from —jda— } { Some things change, some articles remain. Do you know where your survival kit is?  —djo— }

Cornell @ 5 pm Friday

The sun is still shining on Ithaca at 5 pm. —djo—

Thought for the day? “It’s bad luck to be superstitious-“

Dogs are the best.

You can see the love on this dog’s face. Or maybe she’s hungry and the sick human’s spouse wouldn’t give her the good stuff? Anyway. It’s a nice touching story and love like that should start out our depressing news of the day reports, ya think? —djo—

Positive Thoughts?

For contrast – Yes, start your day off inspired by something positive and see if that does change the way your day unravels. —jim w—

Car Chargers Outnumber gas stations in Japan.

This feels positive. Maybe things are looking up. —djo—

Weather News: Boston got as much as 37 inches of new snow on Monday, and already had two feet of snow on the ground. Public Transportation came to a grinding halt there.  & It looked like Halifax and other parts of Nova Scotia were getting dumped on Tuesday. Newfoundland and Labrador are being clobbered on Thursday. With two possible Nor’Easters heading for Maritimes over the weekend. On Friday they’re telling us we’ll probably get off easy while a storm might hit Nova Scotia, But Sunday might be another ‘Major’ snow event.

Friday the 13th.

I thought the church had the Knights Templars executed on Friday the 13th, like burned at the stake or worse? And we did hear that 13 was a lucky number before that. —djo—

Don't believe Harper the Fear Monger

This one hung up and acted like it would crash while I was loading it. —djo—

Doreen Virtue Quote

“Trust yourself!” —jim w—

Apple's going Solar

Apple plans to go 100% Renewable Energy as soon as it can. Let’s hope this is more than an Public Relations ruse. —djo—

Buddha Quote

In our natural state, before we are poisoned by Genetically Modified Food and highly controlled media, we are really ‘nice’ beings. fear and hatred are conditioned into us by nasty people with a nasty agenda. —djo—               A ‘Bodhisattva’ is an ‘Enlightened’ being who could enjoy the peace and serenity of the Heavenly Realms but comes back down here to help guide and liberate the rest of us from the negative b.s. that could lead us downward instead of up.  —jim w—

Yay John Lennon

Not exactly on topic, but I’ll quote John Lennon here, or post a retweet of a John Lennon quote – —jim w—

Climate change

We’ve got friends who believe that climate change is a terrorist activity being engineered by nasty dark ops ice-holes with military background at the behest of corporate ice-holes who are desperate to gain or regain control over the hearts and minds of everybody on this planet, or kill us all if we resist. —djo—

Extinction vs spirituality

This is a cool juxtaposition of messages this morning, don’t-cha think? —jim w—

Hitler / Harper

As Canada moves into an election year that will start and stop a whole lot quicker than we’re used to down here in the ‘States’, Things should be heating up on both sides. My friends up there tend to gravitate toward this view- That Stephen Harper is a born again Fascist who really wants to get it right this time- —djo—

Tommy Douglas Quote reL Fascism

Tommy Douglas was voted something like the biggest Canadian Hero a couple years ago for conceiving and implementing the Canadian Health Care System, which greedy sonofaguns have been trying to talk down and dismantle ever since. —jim w—

Harper priorities

The Harper government claims it was saving lots of money by cheating veterans out of their pensions and closing down offices that helped veterans get access to health care for PTSD and other conditions the government habitually denies coverage for. Meanwhile that same government has spent hundreds of times more money than it claims it saved — advertizing bogus ‘Economic Action Plan’ gains and phony apprenticeship programs with ‘interest free loans’ that suddenly are not interest free when the ‘apprentice’ graduates the programme and discovers that he or she can’t buy a decent job and owes much more than he or she can pay back while working part time flipping hamburgers or pushing donuts. —djo—

Bernie Sanders quoted

More of today’s point-counterpoint: Bernie Sanders weighs in- 🙂 & It isn’t just the U.S. and Canada that are under attack by ‘big money interests’ Look at Greece, where a lot of voters have vivid memories of what it is like to live under a Fascist regime. And look around Europe, where Portugal, Spain and too many other countries are waking up and wondering “WTF” is going on. & I’m happy to report that some of my farourite ‘Psychics’ as well as much more scientific trend watchers are seeing a messy time of it, after which the ‘Banksters’ will no longer be in power. “Half Past Human dot com” says the last Bankster will be strangled by the intestines of the last phony religious cleric after enraged ex-catholics burn down the Vatican in 2019, after learning what Organized Religion has actually been up to for the last century or more, and the Bank of the Vatican has been funding the bloody black ops mind control while Catholic Priests helped develop Nazi torture technology to sexually abuse children and turn them into ‘Manchurian Candidate’ type brain-washed victims that could be activated to pull off seemingly random breaks that are actually attacks on our freedoms and liberty. The Texas Tower sniper, the Unibomber, the guy who shot John Lennon, and most of the wild and crazy school shootings and Theater shootings are done by ‘targeted’ individuals who have been conditioned and activated to pull off inconceivable acts of terror, so the government can pass emergency legislation that takes your freedom away and gives them more and more control over everything you think do and say. —jim w—

Child Labour in 1911

Child Labour in 1911

Child Laour in 2015

Child Labour in 2015.

Then and now?

Here’s a ‘Then and Now’ Tweet that twitter wouldn’t let me retweet. Maybe it was deleted?—djo—                             & I remember 14 year olds being a lot smarter and aware than adults gave us credit for, even if we weren’t always capable of seeing ‘the whole picture’ or understanding clearly what we saw going on around us, when I was one of them. —  Should I admit the Beatles hit the USA when I was a fourteen year old?  —jim w—

{ Today’s Birthdays : — You can find all this and more at http://www.historyorb.com/today/birthdays.php 

February 13th: 1849- Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father was born in England. 1885- Elizabeth [Bess] Truman, Harry’s wife & First Lady. 1887- Alvin York (Sargent York) US Soldier Famous for killing 25 ‘enemy’ in WW I.  1888- Georgios Papandreou, Greek prefect of Lesbos/minister/premier.  1919 Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bristol Tn, country vocalist/actor (pea picker). 1923  Chuck Yeagar, US test pilot (1st man to break sound barrier). 1933-  Kim Novak, [Marilyn], actress (Vertigo, Of Human Bondage), born in Chicago, Illinois. 1934- George Segal, actor/banjo player (Carbon Copy, Fun with Dick & Jane). 1942- Carol Lynley, actress (Night Stalker, Fantasy Island, Immortal), born in NYC, New York & Peter Tork, American musician and actor (The Monkees). 1944- Jerry Springer,talk show host (Jerry Springer Show), born in London, England & Stockard Channing, actress (Grease, Big Bus, Without a Trace), born in NYC, New York.  1950- Peter Gabriel, Surrey England, rock vocalist (Genesis, In Your Eyes).  }

Yesterday’s News: Smart TVs that can recognize verbal commands can listen in to any conversation inside your home while that feature is on. NSA operatives etc, can also turn that on whenever they feel like it. Samsung admitted they have ‘a third party’ monitoring everything “to know when a command is given.”

==============

{ Canadian Headlines : From :  http://www.cbc.ca/news  <— Link }

Mass shooting spree suicide plot foiled by Halifax police   { * Be suspicious of this kind of headline. It might be true, but look deeper. We keep hearing that too many of these loose cannons were normal people who were ‘targeted and conditioned, then activated’ to carry out their crimes. Texas Tower shooter, Unibomber, the guy who shot John Lennon, and almost anyone, especially ‘lone gunmen’ who ‘flip out’ and shoot up schools, movie theaters, etc. They may not all be MK-Ultra but if some of them are, we have to do something about this. *  —djo— }

Why are so many of Peter MacKay’s appointed judges also his friends   {* Looks like another scandal is about to rock the Harper ‘government’. Peter MacKay has been in the spotlight before for inappropriate behaviour. He comes off as a mean spirited- bad loser. * —djo— }

FBI agent arranced ‘chance’ meeting with Via Rail terror suspect   { * Stephen Harper is a micro-managing ice-hole. If the Canadian people re-elect him prime minister, then (1) they deserve to go to hell in a handbasket and (2) I wouldn’t believe a ‘fair election’ or honest vote count happened anywhere on this planet, ever. * —djo— }

Stephen Harper’s chief spokesman leaving PMO ahead of election   { * I should quote a woman friend who lives in Canada, “More rats are jumping ship before it goes down and brings them with it”.  *  —djo— }

==============

Weird

A Florida based artist has been told to stop selling miniature versions of the Super Bowl halftime ‘character’ sharks.

Offbeat News:

How ‘Left Shark’ sparked a 3D printing legal row with Katy Perry   {  }

Did you leave thousands of dollars in a bundle of drapes?   {  }

Watch a cat dig its way out after a snowstorm   { * I had to check with Jim about this one, no, it wasn’t his cat. *  —djo— }

Petri Island ice fishing village invites gamers with arcade   { * I had to read this one a couple times before I understood what it meant. * —djo— }

==============

Brrrrrr

-The Big Chill – Version 2015 – Hits the Maritimes-

Local / New Brunswick / Maritime News:

New Brunswick braces for heavy snow and extreme cold weekend   { * So, what else is new? *  —jim w—  }

Kennebecasis Valley High School teacher faces sex charges   {    }

New Brunswick faces a ‘serious deficit position’: Roger Melanson   {   }

Local producers praise David Coon’s food security bill   { * – Some New Brunswick entrepreneurs say Green Party Leader David Coon’s proposed Local Food Security Act will help grow a larger market for locally grown food in the province. – The proposed bill would see the provincial government give preference to local food providers to supply food for nursing homes, schools and hospitals. – It would also include better labelling for local food and bringing healthy food education to schools. – Tim Cochran of Cochran’s Country Market said he has seen firsthand the state of New Brunswick agriculture industry. – “We have a lot of farmers that I’ve been dealing with for 20 years that they’re going to retire and there isn’t the farmers there to take their place, partly because I think it’s a hard industry to break into,” Cochrane said.

hi-nb-local-food-levi-852

Levi Lawrence, the owner of Real Food Connections, said Coon’s bill would help create a better market for local food in New Brunswick. But he said change will not happen immediately. (CBC)

– Cochran said Coon’s proposal could help make it easier for people to make a living in the agriculture industry. – “I think it’s excellent,” he said. – “From what I understand, it’s really going to promote and drive the promotion of locally grown produce and products.” – Levi Lawrence, the owner of Real Food Connections, said the act would be a step forward by building the market for local food in the province. – But he said even if the bill passes, change won’t happen overnight. – “There is still a lot of work to be done in the province in supplying, distributing and processing what we grow in the province that the act doesn’t really help us do,” Lawrence said. – “It does create a market for entrepreneurs to work on that problem and better reason to get into that business, but that’s the biggest gap we have in the province today.” – Lawrence has been expanding his local food store in Fredericton and is now getting ready to open up a store in Saint John. He went through a major crowdfunding campaign last year. –Coon open to amendments – The bill is expected to have its second reading sometime in mid-March. If the bill passed, Coon said it would take about 12 months to get it up and running. – “It sets up an advisory committee to work with the various ministers who would be involved,” he said. – “And really that’s all it would take to get to the point where targets could be set for the province and for targets for our public institutions like schools and hospitals.” – Coon said he’s received a lot of positive feedback on the bill from agriculture organizations as well as individual MLAs. – He said he’s hopeful the bill will pass and said he is open to making amendments. – “I’m always open to amendments to make bills better so we get the best possible law in the books,” he said. – “But I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t pass. I think both parties would have to explain why they wouldn’t support it if it didn’t pass.” – A government spokesperson said Coon’s bill is being studied. – “The government has committed to developing a local food and beverages strategy to assist local growers and produces develop their products and get them to market,” the spokesperson said. –  The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick said in a statement on Thursday that they would like to see Coon’s bill passed. – “Food is one thing that all New Brunswickers require on a daily basis and food security is an issue that affects and unites all people,” the group said in a statement. –   }

==============

schnarr

This was retweeted again, and it’s worth re -publishing. Who benefits from a bill Stephen Harper is trying to say is good for everybody? Only the rich- —djo—

==============

{ We’re taking it slow for now, after being ‘down for the count’ / ‘under the weather’ / being beaten up by flu bugs for the last several weeks. Who knows? We might wake up tomorrow full of vim and vinegar and want to dive right back into what we were doing up to near the end of last month. But right now, I don’t even want to think about a lot of the nonsense that is passing for ‘News’ lately.  — Quote Paul Simon? “I get all the news I need from the weather report.” (?) But anyway, we could probably supply you with a barrage of retweeted stuff: Yay? Note to the world: “Hang in there-”  —djo— }

rant

Yay! I found something Positive! & I’ve wanted to hear anything good about Apple since it’s been looking like they’ve embraced the same sleazy-iced ‘Make sure they can’t use last years peripherals with this year’s ‘gotta-have-its’ greedy ice-hole marketing strategy. Grumble Grumble…

Tax Dodges of Amerikan Corporations.

“How US Companies try to avoid paying taxes?” or how they get away with that?

TVs are Watching You.

“Smart TeeVees = Bad News” —djo—

Cool Cougars?

Without a whole lot more details I have no idea what this is or whether or not it might be appropriate for children. Best Guess? : Cover Photo of National Geographic Kids Magazine.

eeek

Coming from Lockheed Martin – I wouldn’t trust this as far as I could throw one of those towers. ‘Smart Grids’ are buzz words for the greedy corporate ice-holes who are using your ‘smart appliances’ to spy on you. smart meters disturb sleep patterns and give utility companies the ability to monitor your use and shut you down at their slightest whim. Senior citizens were killed in Texas when a power company shut off their air conditioners during an incredible heat wave. 106 degrees F in a high rise = dead senior citizens + Zero Corporate responsibility. —djo—

Surveillance State / Learn to take pictures.

Another weird juxtaposition coming our way from the ‘Tweet-Us-Sphere’ —jim w—

Airport What?

And, while we’re on the subject of the ‘Surveillance State’ – is this a legitimate view of what is going on? Or is this a stunt to try to recruit the kind of security cops who don’t mind getting their hands inside babies’ diapers and strip searching beautiful young women? Gack! —djo—

Arizone is as bad as Texas

A person who works at ‘Corrections Canada’ told me I was an effing idiot if I believed the ‘b.s.’ that Texas would lock anyone up for life if they were caught with a single marijuana cigarette. The next time I saw the guy he looked stunned, like he had researched that in order to try to slap me in the face with the ‘truth’ – and found out I had told him the truth. But he never apologized. Arizona is almost as bad as Texas. —jim w—

& The previous 'government'/regime here in New Brunswick may have made some dirty deals, but those deals may not be chiselled in stone.  ---jim w---

& The previous ‘government’/regime – here in New Brunswick may have made some dirty deals, but those deals may not be chiselled in stone. —jim w—

Twitter followers map

My Map of Twitter Followers? —jim w—

djo twitter followers

Tweet Map – Not as pretty as Jim’s, but at least you can read it. —djo—

new followers. Jim W

Dueling Twitter Maps? Nah- But These are my ‘newer followers’ & I’m not in this to see how many followers I can get. Neither is Doug.  —jim w—

==============

shutdowncanada

8:40 pm – I got here late and have received a barrage of “#shutdowncanada” tweets. I want to look into this before we publish. — both of us broke for dinner a while back so we haven’t been killing ourselves here, but… —        —jim w—

{ There were quite a few demonstrations in Montreal and maybe elsewhere, people disrupted traffic with signs I’ll translate to “you can stick your austerity measures where we hope it hurts you a lot.” And the feeling is ‘we’re not going to take this [ bull chips ] any more. But now it’s after 9 pm and we’ve been at this at least twice as long as we wanted to be- Time for somebody else to jump in and save their little corner of this world. okay?  —jim w— }

==============

{ We should quit while we’re ahead? Good Night Amerika – Whatever you are. -wink-  —djo— & friends —  }

 { & Doug has added a catch all blog to our madness here, and we will probably be posting our daily stuff there too, at http://www.aerendel.org/CanadianNews/ It’s on one of our servers and he managed to put in a twitter feed and connected his sadly neglected effbook account so anyone friending the right Doug Otterson on facebook should get lots of interesting retweets etc. Busman’s Holidays are Us?  —jim w— }

==============

Thursday, 12 February, 2015 – News?

{ Copied & Pasted from Radio Free Earth News: ———jim w——— }

========================

Thursday, 12 February, 2015  -( +24˚F / -4˚C  With Snow Flurries @ 10:30 am near Ithaca )-  -( +3˚F / -16˚C   & very light snow is falling, like 1 flake per cubic foot of air out there  @ 11:30pm Closer to Halifax —jim w—)-   —  { Headlines compiled by douglas j otterson & jim wellington, with help from —jda— } { Some things change, some articles remain. Do you know where your survival kit is?  —djo— } { We had a near catastrophic computer freeze and when we recovered the captions beneath a lot of tweets were way out of proportion. And 1100 + new tweets came in while we’ve been doing this  —djo— }

Cornell U Cam Shot

Grey & Dreery here in Ithaca, snowing so lightly it doesn’t show up on web cam shots.

Positive Thoughts?

For contrast – Yes, start your day off inspired by something positive and see if that does change the way your day unravels. —jim w—

Weather News: Boston got as much as 37 inches of new snow on Monday, and already had two feet of snow on the ground. Public Transportation came to a grinding halt there.  & It looked like Halifax and other parts of Nova Scotia were getting dumped on Tuesday. Newfoundland and Labrador are being clobbered on Thursday. With two possible Nor’Easters heading for Maritimes over the weekend.

Doreen Virtue Quote

“Trust yourself!” —jim w—

Apple's going Solar

Apple plans to go 100% Renewable Energy as soon as it can. Let’s hope this is more than an Public Relations ruse. —djo—

Buddha Quote

In our natural state, before we are poisoned by Genetically Modified Food and highly controlled media, we are really ‘nice’ beings. fear and hatred are conditioned into us by nasty people with a nasty agenda. —djo—               A ‘Bodhisattva’ is an ‘Enlightened’ being who could enjoy the peace and serenity of the Heavenly Realms but comes back down here to help guide and liberate the rest of us from the negative b.s. that could lead us downward instead of up.  —jim w—

Yay John Lennon

Not exactly on topic, but I’ll quote John Lennon here, or post a retweet of a John Lennon quote – —jim w—

Climate change

We’ve got friends who believe that climate change is a terrorist activity being engineered by nasty dark ops ice-holes with military background at the behest of corporate ice-holes who are desperate to gain or regain control over the hearts and minds of everybody on this planet, or kill us all if we resist. —djo—

Extinction vs spirituality

This is a cool juxtaposition of messages this morning, don’t-cha think? —jim w—

Hitler / Harper

As Canada moves into an election year that will start and stop a whole lot quicker than we’re used to down here in the ‘States’, Things should be heating up on both sides. My friends up there tend to gravitate toward this view- That Stephen Harper is a born again Fascist who really wants to get it right this time- —djo—

Tommy Douglas Quote reL Fascism

Tommy Douglas was voted something like the biggest Canadian Hero a couple years ago for conceiving and implementing the Canadian Health Care System, which greedy sonofaguns have been trying to talk down and dismantle ever since. —jim w—

Harper priorities

The Harper government claims it was saving lots of money by cheating veterans out of their pensions and closing down offices that helped veterans get access to health care for PTSD and other conditions the government habitually denies coverage for. Meanwhile that same government has spent hundreds of times more money than it claims it saved — advertizing bogus ‘Economic Action Plan’ gains and phony apprenticeship programs with ‘interest free loans’ that suddently are not interest free when the ‘apprentice’ graduates the programme and discovers that he or she can’t buy a decent job and owes much more than he or she can pay back while working part time flipping hamburgers or pushing donuts. —djo—

Bernie Sanders quoted

More of today’s point-counterpoint: Bernie Sanders weighs in- 🙂 & It isn’t just the U.S. and Canada that are under attack by ‘big money interests’ Look at Greece, where a lot of voters have vivid memories of what it is like to live under a Fascist regime. And look around Europe, where Portugal, Spain and too many other countries are waking up and wondering “WTF” is going on. & I’m happy to report that some of my farourite ‘Psychics’ as well as much more scientific trend watchers are seeing a messy time of it, after which the ‘Banksters’ will no longer be in power. “Half Past Human dot com” says the last Bankster will be strangled by the intestines of the last phony religious cleric after enraged ex-catholics burn down the Vatican in 2019, after learning what Organized Religion has actually been up to for the last century or more, and the Bank of the Vatican has been funding the bloody black ops mind control while Catholic Priests helped develop Nazi torture technology to sexually abuse children and turn them into ‘Manchurian Candidate’ type brain-washed victims that could be activated to pull off seemingly random breaks that are actually attacks on our freedoms and liberty. The Texas Tower sniper, the Unibomber, the guy who shot John Lennon, and most of the wild and crazy school shootings and Theater shootings are done by ‘targeted’ individuals who have been conditioned and activated to pull off inconceivable acts of terror, so the government can pass emergency legislation that takes your freedom away and gives them more and more control over everything you think do and say. —jim w—

Child Labour in 1911

Child Labour in 1911

Child Laour in 2015

Child Labour in 2015.

Then and now?

Here’s a ‘Then and Now’ Tweet that twitter wouldn’t let me retweet. Maybe it was deleted?—djo—                             & I remember 14 year olds being a lot smarter and aware than adults gave us credit for, even if we weren’t always capable of seeing ‘the whole picture’ or understanding clearly what we saw going around around us, when I was one of them. —  Should I admit the Beatles hit the USA when I was a fourteen year old?  —jim w—

{ Today’s Birthdays :

February 11th: 1377- King Ladislas of Naples. 1847- Thomas Edison, inventer and reportedly greedy ice-hole was born in Milan, Ohio. 1919- Eva Gabor, Actress (Green Acres, Gigi). 1920- King Farouk I, Last king of Egypt was born in Cairo. 1926- Leslie Nielsen, Canadian Actor (“Forbidden Planet” & Naked Gun). 1934- Tina Louise, the actress who played ‘Ginger’ on Gilligan’s Island was born in New York City. 1936- Burt Reynolds – US Actor. 1953- Jeb Bush, politician and US National Election Fixer. 1956- Kathleen Beller, US Actress, was born in Queens, NY. 1962- Sheryl Crow, Singer-Songwriter, was born in Kennett, Misouri. 1964- Sarah Palin, Alaskan politician and running joke of a vice-presidential candidate. Also: Pamm, one of Jim W’s best friends and favorite all time people.

February 12th: 1663- Cotton Mather, the Puritan Minister who helped give us the Salem witch trials, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. 1809- Abraham Lincoln 16th US President was born in Kentucky, the same day that Charles Darwin, the famous Moron who gave us the theory of evolution was born of monkey parents in England.  1893- Omar Bradley, World War II US General. 1904- Ted Mack, Teevee Host of the Original Amateur Hour was born in Denver, Colorado.  1915- Lorne Greene, Actor (Bonanza & Battkestar Galactica) was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 1919- Forrest Tucker, Actor (F Troop) was born in Plainfield Indiana. 1950- Michael Ironside, Actor. 1955- Arsenio Hall, Comedian/talk show host.  — You can find all this and more at http://www.historyorb.com/today/birthdays.php  }

Yesterday’s News: Smart TVs that can recognize verbal commands can listen in to any conversation inside your home while that feature is on. NSA operatives etc, can also turn that on whenever they feel like it. Samsung admitted they have ‘a third party’ monitoring everything “to know when a command is given.”

==============

{ Canadian Headlines : From :  http://www.cbc.ca/news  <— Link }

‘Long live justice,’ fiancée says after Egyptian-born Canadian Mohamed Fahmy gets bail   { * We can hope and pray she still believes in ‘justice after this second trial is over. *  —djo— }

-Analysis- Why Walmart hit the bull’s-eye Target missed: Don Pittis   {* I can’t believe Walmart, a corporation that closes stores that might unionize and makes sure that as many employees as possible cannot work full time or enough to qualify for mandatory benefits, should be held up as a good example of anything. BOYCOTT WALMART!  —djo— }

-Analysis- Lost one minister, shuffle three. Harper’s new election face: Chris Hall   { * Stephen Harper is a micro-managing ice-hole. If the Canadian people re-elect him prime minister, then (1) they deserve to go to hell in a handbasket and (2) I wouldn’t believe a ‘fair election’ or honest vote count happened anywhere on this planet, ever. * —djo— }

Can NBC News Anchor Brian Williams redeem himself?   { * I can’t believe an article about an NBC News Anchor should be among the top 4 articles in any legitimate news service any more than I can believe that the Kardasians deserve to be millionaires or at all newsworthy.  *  —djo— }

==============

Weird

A Florida based artist has been told to stop selling miniature versions of the Super Bowl halftime ‘character’ sharks.

Offbeat News:

Surf’s up at wet Whistler in spoof by snowboarders, skiers   {  }

Harlem Globetrotters’ mascot Big G recovered after Vancouver theft   {  }

Teen’s profane tweet gets her fired before starting new job   {  }

Heavy metal wedding on the high seas for Saint John couple   { * – has been listed in the top 4 offbeat news articles for at least three days now – * —djo— }

==============

Brrrrrr

-The Big Chill – Version 2015 – Hits the Maritimes-

Local / New Brunswick / Maritime News:

Moncton taxpayers deserve answers on AC/DC concert cash: reporter   {   }

Saint John police drop meals for detainees to cut costs   {    }

New Brunswick can expect fair weather on Thursday, Peter Coade says   { *** Ya call grey skies, grey everywhere and flurries ‘Fair Weather’? I don’t. ***  —jim w—  }

Brunswick News walks back pay cut for some newspaper carriers   { * The newspaper clawed back one cent for each paper delivered a while back, and now has given that penny a paper back to walking newspaper carriers, but not to drivers? *  —djo—  *** Yup- ***  —jim w—  }

==============

FHS dress code fight sees ‘complete shift,’ young feminists say   { * – Three months after an angry protest by young feminist activists at Fredericton High School led to their suspensions, the female students say there’s been a “complete shift” in attitude among administrators. – They’re now working together to tackle sexual assault and other issues at the 1,900-student high school.

– This week David McTimoney, the superintendent of the Anglophone West School District, confirmed the students will have a role in drafting a district-wide policy on sexual assault — one of their key demands during November’s protest. – “It will be a collaborative effort that will see student and staff input as well as input from experts in the field,” McTimoney says. – “A good news story.” – The story didn’t look that good last November, when about 25 young women walked out of classes to protest the school’s dress code and to demand a harassment policy. –

‘There was a breakthrough.’– Emilia Deil, student

– It was bitterly cold outside and the protest turned angry when the students weren’t able to go back inside afterwards because of the security locks on the school doors. One student alleged she was shoved by the police officer normally posted at the school. – Students who got into the school and chanted around the office of principal Shane Thomas were later suspended for three days and lost their extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year. – But after McTimoney brought in a district staffer, Judy Piers-Kavanagh, to attend meetings between the activists and school officials, things cooled down. – Thomas, who the students had seen as intransigent, was more open to hearing their concerns, they say. – “There was a breakthrough,” says Emilia Deil, Grade 12 student. – “Him just even listening to us and encouraging us and telling us that he wanted to work with us and work through this, and understand — you could tell he genuinely cared at that point and genuinely wanted to do something about the issue, rather than just dismiss it.” – Thomas says he hasn’t actually changed his approach, but he has learned from his meetings with the students, including one where they described their own experiences with sexual harassment. – “I will say some of the stories surprised me,” he says. – “By sharing some of those experiences, it certainly is a learning curve for those of us on the other side of the table. Because you don’t know what all of the students are going through.” –

A simmering debate about dress codes

– The protest began over the school dress code, which requires students to wear “modest” clothes — a phrase that McTimoney admits can be interpreted differently by different teachers. –

Shane Thomas

Shane Thomas, the Fredericton High School principal, originally suspended the dress code protesters for three days and removed their extracurricular activities for the rest of the school year. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

– The young activists felt the dress code was a symptom of what they call rape culture: a climate that blames women for the sexist behaviour of men such as leering, catcalls and harassment. – “It is basically the idea that we use language, or imagery, or we discuss rape or sexual assault in a way that makes it, `Meh, that’s the way things are. That’s just the way things are and people have to deal with it,’” says Jennifer Gorham of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre. “And it’s permissive.” – The dress code issue had been simmering at FHS for a couple of years. – Sorcha Beirne, a Grade 12 student who helped organize last fall’s protest, says she was among several students taken to task for their clothing. – A vice-principal told her that a sheer shirt she was wearing was too revealing. – “And she had no interest in listening to me, so she sent to me the principal and he had no interest in listening to me,” she says. –

Different approaches

– Thomas says the dress code was drafted with the input of a feminist club based at FHS. That group has taken a more moderate approach, working with administrators. –

Julia Fournier

Julia Fournier, Grade 9 student, was a member of the more moderate school-approved feminist group. She also participated in the November protest. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

– The principal says he believes in giving students a voice — but the best way to do that is through the officially-approved, school-based group. – “If you really are concerned about an issue, you should be joining that particular group that has a voice directly with the office or through the teachers,” he says. – “If you’re not part of a group, I don’t know what your ideas are.” – Beirne and Deil felt going through official channels wasn’t effective and decided to take a more radical approach with their city-wide group, the Fredericton Young Feminists. – “I’m definitely more into radical activism. I like protests and I think being loud and aggressive in our tactics is the way we’re going to see change,” Beirne says. – The group was also buoyed by its protests for abortion rights at the New Brunswick legislature last year, which they felt succeeded in forcing the issue onto the political agenda. – “We had politicians behind us on these issues we were bringing forward,” Deil says. – “We could see people cared about feminist issues, so it made it easier going into bringing up another issue.” –

From protest to persuasion

– Last November, the group posted a video to a petition website that demanded the repeal of the dress code.

Judy Piers-Kavanagh

Judy Piers-Kavanagh, an Oromocto teacher, was asked to bring the two sides together in the dress code debate. She was called a “godsend” by one of the feminist activists. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

– “I was forced to miss class time because my bra straps were showing,” one student said in the video. – “A student at my school complained about sexual harassment,” Deil said, “and she was told she shouldn’t be wearing a low-cut shirt.” – They organized the walk-out for the following Friday. A few students from outside FHS joined the small group of protesters outside the school, where they chanted demands for ending the dress code. – Some members of the more moderate school-approved feminist group were there too, including Julia Fournier, Grade 9 student. – “A lot of people had never seen a protest before so they didn’t know what was going on,” Fournier says. – “They were shocked by that. But I didn’t see anything wrong happening. Like I don’t think we were out of line.” – Deil says she was nervous about joining the walk-out but decided she had to do it. – “I was told by teachers that I have a lot of respect for, that this was a bad decision and there were different ways of going about it,” she says. – But, Deil says, the students had tried talking without success. –

‘In the morning I saw young people who were confused and hurt and trying to understand why they were being punished. They were terribly hurt.’– Judy Piers-Kavanagh

– Thomas, the principal of FHS for five years and an administrator for 17, says it was his first student walk-out. – “In my years in my administrator that is not something that has occurred and it’s not something we train for,” he says. – The students learned of their suspensions the following week. Many of their parents contacted the school to complain that the ban on extracurricular activities for the rest of the school year went too far. – By then, superintendent McTimoney was already trying to calm the situation. – He asked Judy Piers-Kavanagh, an Oromocto teacher who was filling in at the district office for six months, to step in. – She held a five-hour meeting with the suspended students. – “In the morning I saw young people who were confused and hurt and trying to understand why they were being punished. They were terribly hurt,” she says. – “And by the afternoon I saw young people who were wanting to sit down with administration and have a conversation and they had all kinds of recommendations about what the school could do to improve some things as they saw it.” – Piers-Kavanagh has a background in gender studies and she earned the trust of both the activists and the administrators at a series of meetings. –

David McTimoney

David McTimoney, the district superintendent, says the FHS dress code will remain. (CBC)

– “She’s an angel,” says Deil. – “A godsend.” – Beirne echoed her support for Piers-Kavanagh. – “The fact she was sitting there on the other side of the desk,” Beirne says, “understanding where we were coming from, kind of helped the other people sitting on that side of the desk at least listen.” – As the meetings continued and the climate improved, the school’s principal rescinded the ban on the activists’ extracurricular activities. – “The things that they were asking us to do, we knew we were going to be able to do,” Thomas says. – “And so if they’re coming to the table willing to participate and generate good ideas and work with us to make our school a better place, there’s absolutely no need to have those consequences in place.” –

The discussion continues

– The mood has improved at FHS, with the decision to work on a district-wide sexual assault policy the most concrete example of the new atmosphere. –

Sorcha Beirne

Sorcha Beirne, a Grade 12 student, says she’s the most skeptical among members of the Fredericton Young Feminists about whether all the talk will lead to real change at the school. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

– Thomas has worked with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre to set up a sexual assault response team at the school and there are plans to establish a chapter of the White Ribbon campaign, which sees men raise awareness about assault and harassment against women. – “I’m pretty pleased with what’s going on,” says Emilia Deil. – “Just the fact that we had meetings with the administration was amazing to me. They definitely have had just like a complete shift in point of view.” – Thomas says the conversations with the students “is a powerful way to move forward as a school. And having that co-operation and collegiality with these young people is a wonderful opportunity for us and for them.” – Still, the two sides aren’t in complete agreement about everything. – McTimoney says the dress code will remain. – “There’s not an overwhelming cry to abolish the dress code,” he said. – “But we can see here the dress code was the catalyst for a larger conversation.” – There’s so much goodwill that no one wants to reopen the argument too much — but it’s clear there are very different views of whether the November protest was necessary. – “There’s a lot of good going on now as a result of what has happened, but I would say had the approach been different, the same good could have resulted,” McTimoney says. – “Had that taken a different route, we could have reached the same conclusions without those bumps along the way.” – The students disagree. – “The school district wasn’t going to listen our concerns until we did something big, until they had to listen,” Beirne says. –

‘As long as we’re working with the students and they’re working with us, I have confidence that our students will help us and we’ll be able to help them.’– Shane Thomas, FHS principal

– We wouldn’t have got meetings with the district if we hadn’t had a protest, if we hadn’t gone to the media.” – Julia Fournier, of the more moderate school-based feminist club, says “the walkout turned out to be more effective. But I still respect all the opinions of the members of the FHS feminist club and I see both points of view.” – And Beirne acknowledges she’s the most skeptical among members of the Fredericton Young Feminists about whether all the talk will lead to real change. – “I think it’s very easy to assume that everyone has your best interests at heart, and the school really wants to do what’s best for its students,” she says. – “I think from their past behaviour it’s obvious they like to sweep things under the rug or push things aside.” – Thomas acknowledges that “it takes a while for all this to occur” but says he believes FHS will be successful. – “As long as we’re working with the students and they’re working with us, I have confidence that our students will help us and we’ll be able to help them.” – * }

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{ We’re taking it slow for now, after being ‘down for the count’ / ‘under the weather’ / being beaten up by flu bugs for the last several weeks. Who knows? We might wake up tomorrow full of vim and vinegar and want to dive right back into what we were doing up to near the end of last month. But right now, I don’t even want to think about a lot of the nonsense that is passing for ‘News’ lately.  — Quote Paul Simon? “I get all the news I need from the weather report.” (?) But anyway, we could probably supply you with a barrage of retweeted stuff: Yay? Note to the world: “Hang in there-”  —djo— }

rant

Yay! I found something Positive! & I’ve wanted to hear anything good about Apple since it’s been looking like they’ve embraced the same sleazy-iced ‘Make sure they can’t use last years periferals with this year’s ‘gotta-have-its’ greedy ice-hole marketing strategy. Grumble Grumble…

Tax Dodges of Amerikan Corporations.

“How US Companies try to avoid paying taxes?” or how they get away with that?

TVs are Watching You.

“Smart TeeVees = Bad News” —djo—

Cool Cougars?

Without a whole lot more details I have no idea what this is or whether or not it might be appropriate for children. Best Guess? : Cover Photo of National Geographic Kids Magazine.

eeek

Coming from Lockheed Martin – I wouldn’t trust this as far as I could throw one of those towers. ‘Smart Grids’ are buzz words for the greedy corporate ice-holes who are using your ‘smart appliances’ to spy on you. smart meters disturb sleep patterns and give utility companies the ability to monitor your use and shut you down at their slightest whim. Senior citizens were killed in Texas when a power company shut off their air conditioners during an incredible heat wave. 106 degrees F in a high rise = dead senior citizens + Zero Corporate responsibility. —djo—

Surveillance State / Learn to take pictures.

Another weird juxtaposition coming our way from the ‘Tweet-Us-Sphere’ —jim w—

Airport What?

And, while we’re on the subject of the ‘Surveillance State’ – is this a legitimate view of what is going on? Or is this a stunt to try to recruit the kind of security cops who don’t mind getting their hands inside babies’ diapers and strip searching beautiful young women? Gack! —djo—

Arizone is as bad as Texas

A person who works at ‘Corrections Canada’ told me I was an effing idiot if I believed the ‘b.s.’ that Texas would lock anyone up for life if they were caught with a single marijuana cigarette. The next time I saw the guy he looked stunned, like he had researched that in order to try to slap me in the face with the ‘truth’ – and found out I had told him the truth. But he never apologized. Arizona is almost as bad as Texas. —jim w—

Real food extra

“Real Food? That will be Extra $$ -” —djo—

& The previous 'government'/regime here in New Brunswick may have made some dirty deals, but those deals may not be chiselled in stone.  ---jim w---

& The previous ‘government’/regime – here in New Brunswick may have made some dirty deals, but those deals may not be chiselled in stone. —jim w—

Twitter followers map

My Map of Twitter Followers? —jim w—

djo twitter followers

Tweet Map – Not as pretty as Jim’s, but at least you can read it. —djo—

new followers. Jim W

Dueling Twitter Maps? Nah- But These are my ‘newer followers’ & I’m not in this to see how many followers I can get. Neither is Doug.  —jim w—

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{ We should quit while we’re ahead? Good Night Amerika – Whatever you are. -wink-  —djo— & friends —  }

 

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