Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Today I thought I'd take a look at national and local news items and make a few comments. Warning: my liberal thinking is showing.

1. Appalachian Power - yet another rate increase. In the last several years, APCO has appealed to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, which oversees the utility, for a number of rate increases. Most recently it received a 7.7 percent increase. Now it is asking for a 17 percent increase, and has another increase of 3.5 percent pending as well. I wish I could just go to some entity and say, "Hey, my stockholders want more money, gimme." I suggest we all try it and see how far we get. It would be one thing if there were reasons besides profit involved, but as best I can tell, that is the motive.

2. Exit 150 fixes. The issue? An interchange on Interstate 81 in Botetourt County at Daleville that is among the most used in the state. It is a connector link between US 220, US 460, US 11 and I-81. It is also pretty much the only way to get into Botetourt County (population 32,000). As such, the interchange has several hundred thousand vehicles routed through it on any given day. Traffic backups during peak use times are enormous. Tonight there is a meeting at Lord Botetourt High School offering several fixes. Some of those fixes include buying the truckstops (for about $15 million) that are enveloped in the interchange. Botetourt County created this mess by allowing those entities to build - one of the truckstops was put in in the 1990s, and there was already a traffic problem then. The county bears a lot of responsibility for this problem but I don't see anyone pointing that finger. Now that the problem exists, fixing it is on the scale of multiple millions. Bad decisions do have consequences.

3. The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. It is a shame that this endeavor has been mired in financial difficulties. I have been to the memorial, though not in a while, and it is very nice and well-done, if you like that sort of thing. Bedford, in case you don't know, allegedly lost more men per capita in the D-Day invasion than any other community in the United States, which is why the memorial is situated there.

4. Senator Edward Kennedy dies. Cancer took one of the last survivors of the nation's "Camelot" family. Kennedy was a Democrat of force and renown who in many instances actually worked for the people, a rarity among politicians. Cancer is a killer that knows no distinctions. Unfortunately, in the current health care climate, I do not believe it will ever be cured. There is too much money in it. Another reason for changing health care, something Kennedy wanted.

5. Regulations and rules. In this story, the IRS thinks it will have to cut the limit on contributions to 401(k) plans. I don't make enough money to ever worry about meeting the limits. However, I thought the goal of a 401(k) was to encourage savings.

6. Winning the dough. This fellow won $260 million and wants to do good with it. The MegaMillions is up to $325 million for the drawing Friday night. I have my ticket; do you have yours? What will you do with the money if you win?

7. Bill Maher (love to watch him) calls America "Stupid." I agree with him. On the whole, we are a very ignorant nation. Listen to his list of items that Americans don't know, the percents who think the sun revolves around the earth, etc. and reach your own conclusion. We're so self-absorbed we can't be bothered with "facts." As the country crumbles, ignorance is reaching a pinnacle. What will happen when we get there? (My apologies to anyone who is offended but really... don't you agree, deep down, that few people here are using their brain these days?)

8. Judge strikes "God" in law. This is a fascinating story. A judge ruled that a statue in the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security cannot say "very plainly that current citizens of the Commonwealth cannot be safe, neither now, nor in the future, without the aid of Almighty God. Even assuming that most of this nation's citizens have historically depended upon God, by choice, for their protection, this does not give the General Assembly the right to force citizens to do so now." The judge ruled that telling citizens to pray for help is establishing a religion. Of course it is. I am sure, though, that there will be many folks who will villianize this judge for following the Constitution.

9. Women are getting unhappier. This story by Madeline Bunting is rather eye-brow raising, particularly if you are a woman. She says that the 1999 West and Sweeting study of 15-year-olds shows an "incidence of common mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks and anhedonia (loss of capacity to experience pleasure)" was much higher in girls than in boys - 19% to 32% higher, than results of earlier years. And check this out: "an NHS study published this year showed that between 1993 and 2007 common mental disorders had risen by a fifth for women aged between 45 and 64 (there had been no change in men), and among the over-75s, they were twice as likely in women as men."

10. The Clone Wars are here: this story says the US will soon use an all-drone fighting force. Drones are already in use - 5,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what happens when you turn real life-and-death into a video game? Talk about a moral issue.

11. Using terror for political purposes. Tom Ridge in an upcoming book says that President Bush pushed the terror alerts for his own means during the 2004 election. Was I the only person who already knew this? You would think so judging from the media attention this is getting. It was as plain as the oil companies' increases in gas prices during holiday weekends. But then again, this is America, where people (see #7 above) are easily scared.

12. A new milestone in Afghanistan. The new milestone is soldiers' deaths. I don't know why we are still in the Middle East fighting. Obviously this is over oil and resources. It has nothing to do with 911, nothing to do with vengeance. This is about securing oil. It is about making rich people richer from the blood of Middle Eastern people and American soldiers. The fact that we are still fighting is proof to me that this is a "1984" war. It will go on forever just so the people in power (and yes, in America, we have people in power) can play their games and earn their dollars. Trillions of debt? Bring the soldiers home and plug up that hole immediately. It would solve a lot of the money problems.

13. Lastly, we need government-run health care.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; you can learn more about it here. My other Thursday Thirteens are here. This is number 105!


  1. It's amazing that Ted Kennedy lived that long with the life he led when he was young. I remember when he stayed in Brussels'Hilton and was completely drunken the whole day and his first wife too !

  2. Great thought provoking list. We (as a people) really do need to wake up and smell the coffee so to speak.

  3. Great issues... yes, we are a stupid nation and nothing will change the majority of these issues other than a complete revolution within our country's own borders. Most people these days are just so overwhelmed with living life and keeping their heads above water financially that they are just too tired to try to make changes or fight back. 'We The People' are just plain tired.

    Snappy Di

  4. very thought tickling list!


    Click here to go to my 13 Essence of Libra.

    13 goodness about me.


    Click here to go to 13 Negatives about me.

  5. I can't write or even think about things like this because I just get too angry. I'm with Bill Maher.

    To lighten things up enjoy my TT this week: Thirteen Fun Sites for Totally Wasting Time

  6. hmm that is amazing insights thanks for sharing...Happy T13.

  7. I've stopped reading the news because it's all so depressing. =( I figure that if it's really important, people will talk about it and I'll find out from them anyway. Thought-provoking list, thanks!

  8. Interesting list. Happy T13!

  9. It seems wrong for health care to be a business, not in the best interest of it for us to be well.

    As a Massachusetts Irish American who has voted Democrat all my adult life because they represent my views on women’s rights, civil rights, labor rights and the environment better than their counterpart, I’m very sad about the death of Ted Kennedy.

  10. Yes, Americans don't think much and are letting lethargy and stupidity rule the day. We're also losing our bravery and willing to stand up to what's wrong.

    Let's be the change.

  11. I knew there was a reason I had you in my list of favorite blogs! Go get em!!!


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