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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Arizona; Anti-Gay or Just Misinformed?

It's been a while since I last spoke about Arizona Proposition 102 and it's defeat. I personally think this is a manifestation of insanity running rampent within my great state. A bit of hid and seek with the truth that was played by some groups that believe fear is the manner in which the continued debate over "equal rights" should be settled.

A of a modern day duel with words cleverly disguised as morality.

I offer the following West Wing clip as food for thought.

....and all men are created equal.

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Captain Jack Sparrow is Alive and Well, Just ask the Fool on the Hill

Somalian Pirate-no its Jack Sparrow

A fellow blogger over at Fool on the Hill Recently posted his take on the new age of Piracy I thought the piece so clever that I had to ask if I could use part of it here at Screaming, he kindly allowed me to do so.

So without further adieu;

Fool on the Hill

Original Post: November 20, 2008: I blame Johnny Depp

"The current surge in piracy off the coast of Africa is surely partly the fault of Johnny Depp making pirates appear sexy. With his pursed feminine mouth and saucy good looks, Depp has changed the image of the pirate from a bloodthirsty, murderous rogue, often with a leg [Long John Silver] or arm [Captain Hook] missing, in other words, a bad guy, into a cheeky scamp and a good guy, making it a more attractive career choice for anyone, including Somalians looking for a way to make a living, with their country a failed state without a government. Having apparently got away with capturing a cargo vessel, The Faina, packed with guns and ammunition a few weeks ago [and still not released], they went on to take an oil tanker, the Sirius Star in the Gulf of Aden, the 9th ship captured in 12 days, and have demanded $25M. They even thought they'd grab an Indian Navy warship wanting to search them, but warships tend to have guns unlike cargo vessels, and they were blown out of the water and sunk."

SCREAMING Update: Naval forces in the Horn of Africa Region are growing all the time. There is already a small flotilla of warships from the US, UK, Canada, France, Turkey, Germany, Russia and India, among others. The warships have established a safe shipping lane and escort food aid ships into Somalia. Now isn't that ironic? Warships are protecting the shipping lanes leading in to Somalia... from Somalian Pirates.

The British Navy recently shot and killed two pirates, the French have captured pirates who had taken over a yacht, the Indian navy has thwarted two attempted hijacks and has sunk a pirate ship which refused to stop.

In 1815 the American Commander Stephen Decatur was deployed to stop the pirates in the Mediterranean. He simply captured the flagship of the Algerian Dey. When the Dey later repudiated the agreement, the British and Dutch bombarded Algiers. Guess what may be about to happen...

There is UN Resolution 1838 that passed in October and authorizes the use of "necessary means" to stop piracy in international waters and UN Resolution (1816) which allows anti-pirate operations within Somali waters. UN Res. 1816 may be a bit trickier to enact as it requires the agreement of the Somali transitional government.

And with this, I will close with a few more words from the "Fool on the Hill":

"I say call in Steven Segal and Bruce Willis, that's bound to scare the shit out of them. All in all, Hollywood's got a lot to answer for."

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Children and Guns in Northern Arizona get National Attention

These are Weapons - not Guns - do you know the difference

It's Thursday, so it must be time for a National post. Today in the news we could SCREAM about Madonna's Divorce, the Government's no-deal on the Auto Industry Bailout, US being warned about China's Cyber Syping... Notice that most of my sources are not (and usually never are) US Based... why?

Because the Mainstream Media in this country always presents a myopic view that suits the sales figures for the day ... bunch of lying-half-truth-telling-mamby-pamby-ass-kissing-troglodytes... but I digress ;)

You know, I once saw an interview where a reporter stated that he would rather get the information and agree not to publish it until it was useless than to not get the story at all... what the hell?!? I bet that Nixon was wondering where the hell this clown was when he needed him! Sorry, this is a long way to go to get to today's post (how many to's in that sentence?... is that even legal?!)

Here we go: National attention has been focused on a small town in North Eastern Arizona. A small town in Apache County. A town that is now populated by more satellite trucks, reporters, camera-men/women and signal technicians than it has residents.


Because a father taught his son to hunt at the age of 6 or 7. Because a father taught his son how to lock-load and fire a weapon with apparently a great deal of speed and accuracy at a very young age. Notice I called it a weapon - not a gun. A gun sounds so passive, so nice and non-threatening. We played with guns when we were little; cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, we even made our own rubber-band guns.

There is another reason that I've called it a weapon instead of a gun and I'll get that in a moment.

This small Northern Arizona town has been invaded by the worlds Press Corps because an 8 year old boy is accused of shooting and killing his father and his fathers friend. "I think I may have shot the gun." the 8 year old told Police.

I don't know if he did or didn't that will be for the system to find out and then determine how to deal with an 8 year old on such an issue. I do know that it is tragic. Extremely tragic and needless. My heart goes out to that little boy.

Now, let's get back to what's really stuck in my craw... that distinction between a weapon and a gun. A weapon is nasty, it's made to inflict harm and to kill - that's it. That is it's only purpose for existing. That is the goal that is poured in to every aspect of it's design. It's accuracy, velocity, weight, balance and every other aspect are finely tuned to do one thing and one thing only - hit and destroy it's target. Now, a gun, well a gun is a different story.

Here's your education on a gun as provided and paid for by Uncle Sam's U.S. Military Services; each and every one of them teach this: This little lesson has hand and arm movements so you have have to stand up to follow along....

Here is my weapon (hold your rifle/pistol out in front of you or just point to it)
Here is my gun (grab your crotch, set your rifle or pistol down first)
This is for killing (hold your rifle/pistol out in front of you again)
This is for fun (grab your crotch)

and repeat... it helps if someone yells "I CAN'T HEAR YOU" while you're saying this.

Okay, got it? Pretty simple right... So the next time someone asks if you own a gun you can smile and say "why of course - don't you?"

Weapon = Bad
Gun = Fun

Now, go play with your gun and have a good day.

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Senator John Huppenthal's Misdemeanor Charges to be Handled by Scottsdale City Prosecutor

Update: Chandler City Attorney has handed Senator John Huppenthal's misdemeanor charges over to the Scottsdale city prosecutor to avoid any conflict. Chandler officials stated that a conflict exists because state Senator John Huppenthal was once a Chandler city councilman and part of his legislative district falls in Chandler.

The Chandler police want Huppenthal prosecuted on misdemeanor counts of tampering and theft of a political sign on Election Day. I would guess that's why we have a system - it weeds out that he-said-she-said crap and most of the time gets to the bottom of the stink barrel.

Huppenthal, sorry you were pissed about the sign, but really, I hope this isn't the type of judgment you're accustom to using when deciding really important issues. Like, do I break the law or not.

Remember go out and SCREAM! about something important to you. Add your voice, you've been given one for a reason.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pirates on the High Seas; the year: 2008

A passion for Pirates, if you ask my wife I'm sure she would say yes... or maybe it's Aye' Captain. I have spent countless summer vacations sitting beach side and digesting historical writings on Pirates, the Pirate Trade and the Historical significance of the Pirate Industry. Yes, it was an industry. The United States was involved, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, China and other Asian countries were involved.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, England, France and the Netherlands endorsed the use of privately owned ships, known as privateers, to fight battles, conduct raids, disrupt trade and harass the Spaniards, in order to gain a foothold in the area without having to fund a real navy there. What ever was captured was usually split between the privateers and those who commissioned them. Because the privateers actions (raids) weren't officially sanctioned by any government the privateers easily blurred the lines between action on behalf of and in the best interest of a country - and keeping the lions share for themselves. In some cases, keeping all of it for themselves.

Breaching the contract between the commissioning body and the privateer often meant the privateer needed to seek refuge elsewhere to avoid penalty, fines, imprisonment or worse imposed by the commissioning body. Once the privateer had determined it was much more lucrative to keep the booty for themselves and sail off in to the sunset there was no turning back. Banished to a life of piracy at sea and in search of a safe haven the privateers often ended up in the isles of the Caribbean where they could easily hide and establish ports of protection from government ships and other pirates.

That was the 16th and 17th century and yet here we are today, 2008, and we are hearing about Pirates. I first heard the story of today's Pirates back in September on the way to Hockey practice. The long drive from home to the rink was a perfect time to listen to NPR's evening show, they happened to be interviewing a Somalian Pirate. They discussed how the gentleman had arrived at his current line of work, his family and the dangers.

He was college educated and unable to obtain gainful employ. His wife was a school teacher making nearly nothing for pay. The lived with their extended family in a shack with no running water or toilet. He and his wife decided that something must be done and this was his decision. I think even in Somalia the Pirate life is romanticized, the man believed that he would make enough money to ride his family of their impoverished life. At the time of the interview he had been at it for over a year, his take was almost always spent on just his sustenance with minimal to send back to the family. In his words "there are certain expectations in the world of pirating; when you have a successful raid you must have 'happy-happy', many times this takes most of your share from the raid leaving you next to nothing for your family." When asked about "Happy-Happy" he described it as a celebration after the raid; Women and Booze.

In recent headlines a Saudi Oil Tanker was taken by the Somalian Pirates and is being held ransom. The Sirius Star is the biggest tanker ever hijacked, with a cargo of 2m barrels. One quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily output and is estimated to be worth more than $100m. A Saudi Prince speaking during a visit to Athens, compared piracy to terrorism describing it is "a disease which is against everybody, and everybody must address it together".

Ummmm... Prince, sir, your high-ness, not the same. Sorry, I just don't see it. I just don't see you getting much international sympathy on this one and here's why: Gas approaching $4.00/gal in the US and rising all over the rest of the world - why? Because you thought you could get away with it... hmmm, doesn't that sound like Piracy? And when you found out you couldn't charge that much and have us consume at the same rate... you backed down to nearly $2.00/gal in the US... just saying - you know.

Best of luck to you though; I've always loved a good pirate story.

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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Sundown by TWI've seen so much of everybody's art on the web and the blogs that I visit on a regular basis...

I just had to join in on the act.

This one is titled "Sundown", and is an original oil painting on 24" x 36 canvas. I painted it around 2004/5.

So why put this on "SCREAMING!"?

Ah, who knows, why not? I talk so much about all of the bad in the world - I figured the blog could use a little bit of color, you know brighten the place up a bit - dust out the corners, change the light bulbs... kick the tires.

Okay, really, I was just feeling a bit left out :)

I hope you enjoy.

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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Congo 250,000 Displaced People; New Rebel Activity

In The World Around Us it looks like there is no rest in the DR Congo. It is reported today that Heavy fighting has broken out in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between government forces and rebels.

In my post Screaming with Pictures I talked briefly about the displacement of 250,000 people because of the recent outbreak in rebel activity. As of today, with 250,000 people fleeing and nowhere to go, rebel forces have taken control of Rwindi and are walking around freely according to the AP.

This can not be good for the people of Rwindi or the DR Congo.

Watch the video

A rebel spokesman, stated that: "The government forces are stuck at Vitshumbi, they have no choice but to run away across the lake or through the forest. We are going to... silence the government forces. We are going to impose a ceasefire on them."

In the meantime it is the innocent of Congo that are being silenced. Rape, murder, starvation all becoming to frequently a part of everyday life.

Take action today, send your Congress man/woman a message urging Congress to adopt bipartisan legislation, HR 6520.

Take action today, Donate to Refugees International.

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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24 Hours for Darfur; Take Action Now Add Your Voice

Can you sit by? 250,000 displaced peoples as a result of the recent increase in fighting in the Congo, can you sit by? Murder, Rape, Starvation are facts of daily life, Can you sit by?

You have been given a voice, use it. You have the ability to make a difference just by talking about this issue, do it. You have an opportunity to give the gift of hope to those who live in hopelessness - give it. You can make a difference.

Go out and SCREAM! at your politicians. Talk to your family, church, friends, neighbors, anyone who will listen. Add your voice.

Visit 24 hours for Darfur.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

No Gift Cards this Holiday Season; Shoppers Beware

Its A No Gift Card ChristmasAs the holiday shopping season is right around the corner and the world economy is doing that counter clockwise swirl down the drain thing, I was wondering what bargains are out there to be had... What I found wasn't what I was expecting:

If you have gift cards for any of these stores, now would be the time to cash them in before they close stores in an effort to cut costs.


Ann Taylor rumored to be closing over 100 stores. A company spokeswoman said the company hasn't revealed which stores.

Bombay Company: Check before Purchasing Gift cards

Cache - Check before Purchasing Gift cards

Dillard's - Check before Purchasing Gift cards. Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing under performing stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008.

Eddie Bauer - Check before Purchasing Gift cards. Eddie Bauer has already closed 27 shops in the first quarter.

Foot Locker to close 140 stores. In the company press release and during its conference call with analysts, it did not specify where the future store closures - all planned in fiscal 2008 - will be. - Check before Purchasing Gift cards.

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores. The company said the closures - all planned for fiscal 2008 - will be weighted toward the Gap brand. - Check before Purchasing Gift cards

Macy's - 9 stores - Check before Purchasing Gift cards

Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. - Check before Purchasing Gift cards.

Pep Boys - 33 stores - Check before Purchasing Gift cards

Sprint Nextel
- 125 retail locations New Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse appears to have inherited a company bleeding subscribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the ax on 4,000 employees and 125 retail locations. - Check before Purchasing Gift cards

Wilsons the Leather Experts - 158 stores - Check before Purchasing Gift cards

Zales & Piercing Pagoda closing stores. The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. - Check before Purchasing Gift cards

I don't think I would give gift cards this year from any of these stores

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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Burmese Blogger Sentenced to 20 Years In Jail for Posting

General Than ShweOne has to ask just what in hell is happening in the world around us!

This headline grabbed my attention over the weekend:

A Burmese has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for posting a cartoon of the military leader .

Completely unbelievable.

Here's a portion of the story:

Nay Phone Latt, 28, was sentenced by a court in Rangoon's Insein prison, said his mother, Aye Than. Nay Phone Latt's colleague Thin July Kyaw was sentenced to two years imprisonment, Aye Than reported.

Nay Phone Latt was arrested in January; the sentence delivered on Monday included 15 years for offences under the Electronics Act, two years for "creating public alarm" and three and a half years for offences under the Video Act, his mother said. A spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy party, Nyan Win, described Nay Phone Latt, a former party member, as "a young and intelligent blogger and computer expert."

If blogging about a political figure was all it took in this country to get locked up.... well, I'm afraid that there are quite a few of us that would be doing life behind bars. You can read the entire article at BBC News - Asia Pacific

You have been given a voice, use it. Go out and SCREAM! about something you care about.

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