Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Today, I give you headlines from the print edition of my local daily newspaper. Some of the links I include go to other stories about the same topic, mostly because I am too lazy to look for the exact one that ran in the print edition. Incidentally, the fact that I can't easily find the same stories at their website drives me nuts sometimes.

1. Body Found at Roanoke Co. landfill & M. H. likely died quickly. These are two stories about recent murders in the area. The step-father of a two-year-old in Roanoke first reported that the child had been kidnapped; police later arrested him and charged him with felony child neglect and then began looking for a body. They found a body in the local landfill yesterday. The other story is about Morgan Harrington, a young girl who went missing in several months ago after attending a concert in Charlottesville. Both stories are sickening. Shouldn't a society supposedly as advanced as that in the United States be able to better deal with things like drugs and poverty, which I feel contributed to the first incident, and possibly the second? Why are we merely reactive? Why do we hesitate to spend money to be proactive? Why not try things, even if it might not work the first time? If it saves somebody's life, is it not worth it?

2. In Poland, survivors mark Auschwitz anniversary. One of the great atrocities of the 20th century. A sidebar offers up comments from Iran's supreme leader, which essentially says Israel will be destroyed. History should be remembered and recalled, lest we forget, and do it all over again.

3. John and Elizabeth Edwards have separated, friends say. You know what? I don't care. Since when did personal lives become such fodder? Why is this news? Let these people alone. He was stupid and made a mistake and she, bless her heart, has cancer. Give it a rest.

4. Parent wants last word on use of school dictionaries. From L.A. comes this story about banning the dictionary. My initial inclination is to wonder where these folks come from, these uptight, self-righteous censors who won't be happy until the whole world walks around looking and thinking exactly like they do. I despise censorship. The story I have linked to is an update to the one in the local paper; the school has decided to keep the dictionaries but parents can "opt out" of having their child use it for a resource. Good call.

5. McDonnel laments growing debt. Our new Virginia governor, fresh out of the gate, gives the Republican rebuttal to President Obama's state of the union speech. The "bipartisan" efforts touted during campaigning flew hard and fast out the proverbial window, which surprises no one, myself included. (I couldn't find the same story anywhere online, even when I searched for the first line of the story. What's up with that?)

6. Bastion of history. John Kern, regional director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, is retiring. I know John. He is a good man, and a great advocate for history in all of its aspects. I worked with him in the late 1990s when I was president of one of the local historical societies. I found him to be quite knowledgeable and very earnest in his efforts to save the things that many people just tear down. This is a good piece of journalism about the locality. Too bad the newspaper doesn't do more of it.

7. Person dies in blaze at duplex apartment. The poor fellow's dog died, too. Botetourt County's fire services are operated by volunteers. I am not saying if that is good or bad, I am just stating a fact. While the help is volunteer, the county pays for most of the equipment, so tax dollars are involved. And paid fire services lose people, too. Localities of all natures are keen to cut back on these types of services when the tax dollars start dwindling. People forget that big fires once roared through entire blocks of cities. They forget that the Town of Fincastle lost blocks to blazes. Again I must ask, what is life worth?

8. Lawmakers turn up the heat on Appalachian. I don't understand this. We are a Republican-run state and our Republican leaders pledge their souls to the "free market" system. Well, here's the free market. Either you pay the electric bill or you freeze. It's like health care. Either you pay for your heart medicine or you die. That's what free market is. You can't have it both ways, boys. If you regulate APCO, aren't you doing that socialism thing you are so afraid of? And yes, I want regulation on utilities (my last bill was $350 and I dread to see what the next one is). I want health care. I don't see a little socialism as a bad thing - and apparently, neither do these lawmakers.

9. Budget plan may threaten public safety. The Virginia General Assembly is looking at cutting sheriff's budgets. Locally, Botetourt County could lose at least 13 positions its sheriff's office if the funding cuts go through. That is not in the story; that's just something I know.

10. Blue Ridge Parkway may add 50,000 acres. Congress is looking to keep the scenic highway scenic. This might not be a bad investment of tax dollars. I think we need to keep some land pristine and not use it up.

11. IPad: Apple introduces its latest creation. I own a little iPod but that's it. I love gadgets, would probably love this, likely won't buy it. I wish I could afford a Blackberry and a Raspberry and an iTouch and all of those cool things, but I live in the real world where my electric bills costs me $350 and I have to pay for my eyeglasses.

12. New home sales tumble sharply in December. This is probably bad news. Maybe it was the snow and the cold weather, or the holidays, but the economy doesn't seem to be picking up quickly, if at all. I hear talk of "signs" but honestly, I don't see them. I see gas and food prices rising, I see people out of work, but I don't see signs of an improving economy. You guys up there in Washington and on Wall Street happy yet? Have you finished creating your Great Divide between rich and poor, or are you still not done?

13. Gemini: Take the initiative and deal with any pressing matters immediately. If someone is not pulling his or her weight, you may want to intervene. Be determined and strong about what you want to see happen. 3 stars = you will reach your goal.

Lots of people play Thursday Thirteen. Learn more about it and see other participants here. You can see my other Thursday Thirteens here. This is entry number 124!


  1. An interesting, informative list. Complaining about a book isn't censorship, it's a right and a parent's duty if the book is objectionable. I complained about Little Black Sambo when my kids were pre-schoolers. Deciding what is purchased for a school or library is the biggest censorship, not the occasional complaint from a reader.

  2. The home sales and the ipad were news here, too. The one about the murders was pretty scary. And what's with people banning the dictionary? That's crazy!

  3. Interesting idea for a list. I have been following the coverage of those first two cases. Very sad.

    The dictionary thing strikes me as being a bit ridiculous. I am conservative and am very careful about what my daughter watches and reads, but a dictionary is a tool to be used for learning. If you are concerned that your fifth grader is going to look up those words, then maybe you should teach them to your kid yourself so that it doesn't matter. We aren't talking about 6 year olds here.

    happy TT!

  4. I am amazed at the dictionary debate. There are so many other books more worthy of worry.

    I saw the Itouch on the news last night. Just another gadget for my teenagers to tease about. With the economy such as it is, I am surprised so many people are buying.

  5. With you on the dictionary bit. I don't understand parents/people who are like that either. But I'm curious over any reason why they would want to censor school dictionaries.

  6. Ban. The. DICTIONARY?!!!! Pft!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. No plans on banning the dictionary at our house. But we don't view news on TV anymore. Talk about inappropriate for children. I find that I don't miss it a bit.

    Thanks for an interesting list.

    My TT: More Than Enough

  8. Wow, the dictionary... I'm taking it their children live in glass bubbles and won't be exposed to these words in any other way. ~ Calico Contemplations

  9. I was pretty shocked to read the story about banning of the dictionary. It's a resource tool. I think it is taking it a little too far.

  10. I was so depressed after watching the news last night. I was so disappointed that they found Morgan Harrington's body - I was holding on to every thread of hope that she is still alive. And then to hear about that precious baby boy found in the land fill!!!! UGH!!! Shannon and I turned on America's Funniest Home Videos for some comic relief. I'm ready for spring, how about you?

  11. An interesting list. I agree with Calico Crazy on the dictionaries. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head in disbelief when I read the things some people try to control.

  12. Gotta love the Roanoke newspaper. I choose not to read or watch the news because it's just too depressing.


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