26 June, 2008

Is Baltimore City Going to be Bottled Water-Free?

Is Baltimore City Going to Be Bottled Water-Free?

If you had told me 20 years ago that the bottled water industry in America would become a multi billion dollar industry I would have laughed at you. I would have said something like “Sell water? Are you crazy? It comes out of the tap for free? Why would I pay a buck for water?” Of course, my voice would have been a bit higher and may have cracked because I would have been 13. But that’s not the point here.
The point here is that cities across the country are rethinking their bottled water contracts and pushing for more dependence on tap water.

The concept of paying for bottled water for city employees with taxpayer money when 99 percent of Americans have access to safe water is another reason mayors are beginning to rethink their water contracts.

Several cities are already on board. Cities like San Francisco (who seems to be leading the charge), San Jose, Miami, Orlando and about 60 other metro areas are kicking the bottle in efforts to save money and reduce the plastic waste that bottled water leaves in its wake (pun!). Even larger cities like NYC, Chicago, Philly and Boston are supporting resolutions to stop buying bottled water for city workers.

It’s about time, I say. I have always had a shaky feeling about buying bottled water. What’s wrong with my tap water? I think it’s fine. But the mass marketing of the bottled water industry has hooked us into believing that bottled water is the answer, and we bought into it. Anyone remember the comic about the PR campaign who successfully sold toxic sludge to America and had them falling in love with it? That’s bottled water.

It’s water! It comes from the tap! It’s OK. Ya don’t believe me? Really now, why should you). The website Tappening has included a list of a few other good reasons to make the switch:
• Water systems that provide tap water have to test for water pathogens that can cause intestinal problems; bottled water companies don't do this.
• City tap water can have no confirmed E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria. FDA bottled water rules include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
• City tap water, from surface water, must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast, there are no federal filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
• In one publicized taste test in New York City, conducted by Showtime television, researchers found that 75 percent of participants actually preferred the taste of tap water to bottled water.
• City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals, such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic, including plastic bottles); some in the industry persuaded the FDA to exempt bottled water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
• City water systems must issue annual "right to know" reports, telling consumers what is in their water. Bottlers successfully killed a "right to know" requirement for bottled water.
I can’t wait till I don’t have to feel the need to buy water anymore. I will have felt a tiny sense of freedom from bottled water.

25 June, 2008

My Views of Universal Healthcare in the US: From a Social Services Perspective

I work for the state of MD Social Services and handle the portion of American healthcare that IS socialized already.
How is this not socialized? Everyone is covered (who qualify).

My larger point is this:
What if US decided to take a universal approach to healthcare and just expanded the Medicaid program to cover every US citizen.
Have you ever spent an entire day at DSS waiting to be served? Ever been to Social Security?
I'm afraid that this is what universal health care would actually look like in this country. We already can't administer our healthcare properly.
Now add everyone?
That being said, I firmly support the idea of covering every citizen 100%. Now how are we going to do it?

23 June, 2008

Your Service Provider is No More Your Friend Than Your President Is


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that a key positive feature of the new wiretap "compromise" is that the bill reaffirms that the President must follow the law, even though the same bill virtually assures that no one will be held accountable for George W. Bush's violation of the earlier spying law.

So you heard about the new wiretap law passed by congress, right? Basically it lets the Bush administration get away with all the taps that they have already made, allows them to do more in the future, and does not hold internet/telecom service providers accountable for complying with wire taps
Beyond the breathtaking scope of this new authority, the Bush administration also snuck in a clause that granted forward-looking immunity from lawsuits to communications service providers that assisted the spying.
That removed one of the few safeguards against Bush's warrantless wiretaps: the concern among service providers that they might be sued by customers for handing over constitutionally protected information without a warrant.
So basically it’s gov. AND telecom/internet providers teaming up against our freedoms.

In short, the "Protect America Act" made warrantless surveillance legally cost free for a collaborating service provider, tilting the scales even further in favor of the government's spying powers.
And we let it happen. I am among this “we” as I received 3 different emails from public outcry organizations and I just let them go. But now that I see the aftermath I am almost shocked. This was a great erosion of our freedoms of both privacy and ability to air grievances in court.
I wonder how the service providers will act now that they know they have a green light for spying and the protection of the government. Now they too are above the law and we are at the mercy.
You think this doesn’t include you? This law applies not just to terror suspects abroad who might communicate with Americans, but to anyone who is "reasonably believed to be outside the United States" and who might possess "foreign intelligence information," defined as anything that could be useful to U.S. foreign policy.
That means that almost any American engaged in international commerce or dealing with foreign issues - say, a businessman in touch with a foreign subsidiary or a U.S. reporter sending an overseas story back to his newspaper - is vulnerable to warrantless intercepts approved on the say-so of two Bush subordinates, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. Will this include overseas internet transactions? EBay? Chat lines and message boards? Where do you fit in all of this?
We lost something here. Sadly, we won’t really know what we lost until it is personally used against us. I may have to reconsider that anti-Israeli post I was going to blog about. It may be read by someone in Damascus. If you don’t hear from me for a while you’ll know why. Don’t ask any questions though or you’ll be joining me, wherever I happen to be held.

20 June, 2008

My Crialgslist/Blogger Wish List

Wish list…Not really.

So I was updating my profile on Blogger and came across my “wish list”. What is this? I guess I can just pop in a link of something that I want and you can go to the site a see what it is right? So I thought about what I wanted and decided on this. http://baltimore.craigslist.org/cas/713149986.html
Yea, it’s a Craigslist add for some hot steamy action. Yee-haw!
No there are so many Cl adds out there to chose from. How did I come to this one? Simple. I just entered: Crazy Bitch into the search field and took the first thing that popped up.

But I didn’t think it would be right to put this add up without the poster’s knowledge so I sent her a msg telling her that her add is in my blog. And that’s when the conversation with the bimbo bot began. See for yourself in this exchange of emails.

Your CL Add is on My Blog.
Now now..don't worry, I can explain. It may be intriguing.First of all this is not an answer to your add (which was pretty goodbtw, but sounds too much like a call girl..unless that's what you are,in that case it's perfect)But an explaination of the title of the msg. I was updating my Blog today on Blogger and wanted to update my wish list. I thought of going to CL to put an add on it.HAHA! How did I find you? I searched for "CRAZY BITCH" in the Casual Encounters search and you were #! Woo-Ho!So you're on my wish list now. I don't think any one's ever looked at my wishlist and I didn't even know I had one so hardly anyone will read it...Unless you want them to :) Here's the link to the blog. Find the wishlist in the profile and there you are. Lemmie know if ya want me to take it off and I'll do it. You're pretty anonymous and I think it's cool. Really though. Who are you trying to please here anyway? 'Eh?

Cheers Daily Breather

OK…So I thought it was classy. Here’s her response.

Hey, I just got your email, sorry for the delay getting back to you. I just took some new snap shots and added them to my home page if you want to check it out: http://www.singlecutegirls.com/kelly I have more info about myself there as well. If you like what you see then email me back. If not, no hard feelings :-( i'll let you off the hook.Do you have any pictures of yourself? Please send so I can see what you look like too :-) Hope we can chat soon,

…Whatever…So either she’s dumb as…well, something dumber than a typical blond joke, or she’s an automated response. OK, not the first time I’ve flirted with something without a pulse. Let’s see what happens now?

Check me reply…

Bitch please! did you even read my message? I guess you don;t care if I have you on my blog. OK then. It will remain untill I hear otherwise.

(note from the editor…Human ladies do not get called “bitch” by the Breather unless they are either being roughed up in a sexually permissive way or they are his current girlfriend who most usually calls the Breather by her pet name for him, “Bitch please!”)

You would think this would be offensive to any lady (even one of the night) but not so much. She must be stunned by my charm because I think I’m winning her over. Check it out…

Ahh, cool so you must have liked my page ;-) I just saw your email in my inbox and got a little exicted I must admit *blush*. I wanted to reply right back to let you know I got your email and I'm online right now if you wanna chat:yahoo messenger or AIM--> nicegirl7820 When you im me make sure you tell me your name incase I don't recognize your screen name. I get a lot of strange people contacting me :-( and if you have a cam have it ready cuz I'd love to see you!Thanks

Now I'm just seeing how far I can get with the bimbo-bot here. How much dumber can this get?
Stay tuned.

11 June, 2008

Dear Dad.

Dear Dad

Father’s Day has never been then celebratory event that it should be in our family. I think if I had kids of my own I would expect more from Father’s Day. Sorry dad. So this year I plan to make it up to you. Before I do, however, let me take a minute while I have the floor (or desk chair as it may be) and properly thank you for the job that you have done over the years. Yes it has been quite a few years. You have been a father for 35 years and 33 of them have included me.
You have been the sole provider for your family during the entire run through your career as a designing engineer. As you chased your career through the ever shrinking automotive designing world in Flint and Detroit you always found a way to take care of us. You raised us through some of the toughest times in America for the working class, the Reagan and Bush years and you did it with dignity. You were always first to work and last one home because you knew that overtime made the difference between hot dogs and Pizza Hut.
Holy shit, dad! You even took a night job as an unarmed security guard in Flint at the Little Ceasers on Clio and Pearson Rd. in Beecher. I was in 5th grade and didn’t realize at the time that you were defending a useless cause in a war zone. I could not even fathom taking on such a role. Later you would lay awake at night knowing that your youngest son was doing the same thing but he was surviving in Falluja. Just like you made it through Vietnam, your youngest son survived Iraq and has been reunited with his family. I hope that one of these days soon he will open up to you and treat you with the respect that you deserve. You know that he has a lot of pain in his heart that he can not share yet. I don’t understand as much as you do.
Throughout your life you did things by yourself. As an adult you had individual hobbies such as gardening and race walking. We used to gather in poking fun at you while you walked but you persevered. You had to stop accepting 1st place trophies from races because you had no more room for them. Good luck with the Baltimore Marathon this fall. It will be nice to see how many runners you beat. I know it will be a lot.
As alone as you may have felt in your life you were always a family man first and always there for us. Weather you were at work or at school plays it was for us. Through whatever life threw at you there was always a way through it and back to your family. When you had to leave Michigan and take work in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania it was the first time that you had been away from mom since Vietnam. How did you get your soup heated up?
I’m glad that you made the trip and discovered this area for yourself. Your decision to retire out here has been a benefit for me in so many ways. Like you I don’t want to be far from my family. In 3 years after your move to MD we have the entire family living out here and we are all doing better. Your children don’t have to be stressed with no real jobs in MI as MD looks like the fertile crescent of jobs compared to what we grew up around.

So this year is on me. Come on out to the house, relax, we’ll put some flesh on the grill and SueSue is making her chicken-bacon sammiches. We can just hang out. In fact I’ve created a neighborhood festival in your honor. OK, so everyone else calls it Honfest but they chose this weekend because it’s Father’s Day and they knew you would enjoy it. So come on down, bring the little woman if ya want ( I love you, Mommy) and just relax for the day. We’ll head up to Zissmos and score the cheap beers while people outside are paying $5 a pop. You can live it up and eat more dead flesh on a stick. Then we’ll walk back to the house and laugh the rest of the day away because you know family stories aren’t far away. Mom still has a few stories to embarrass me with.

And next month when your birthday rolls around we’ll take the light rail down to Camden Yard because the Tigers are in town. You’ll like that one even better.
Happy Father’s Day dad. I love you.

09 June, 2008

Starscape '08 Assfact Wrap-Up

Starscape ‘08

This was the 10th anniversary of Starscape, Baltimore’s 16 hour outdoor electronic party held at Ft. Armistead Park in Baltimore. I think that this event is one of those things where you either know about it or you don’t. Some will get while others will just go about their everyday. And that’s OK.
First of all, this was my very first Starscape so I was interested to see how it all played out. I’m not going to Wikki the history or anything to give you a brief history because I wasn’t there for the past so I’ll just give my outsider’s thoughts. This way I can Assfact my way through this post and no one will mind…right?
One observation I can make right off the bat is that for Starscape to be running strong for 10 years now means that someone was doing something right because events like these, long electronic events, rarely have longevity of 10 years anymore. So, to whoever you all are who are keeping this event alive I salute you.
Ft. Armistead Park: I’ve never been to this park but can see it on the map and it looks like the best place in the city to throw a fat party. It’s practically under the Key Bridge on the water and has great views. And really, a party under the bridge, any bridge, is a nice party spot. However, I thought that more of the park would be used but the event was crammed onto a point of the park and 5 stages were overlapping each other so bad that you had to be inside a tent and in front of speakers to prevent bass from other stages from creating a horrible -shoes in the dryer- effect. I thought the space was overused and the sound overlapping was a nightmare.
The Main Stage: Are you fucking kidding me?! This was the only stage that was not overlapped by other sounds but it should have been. I was scratching my head all day wondering why all the talent was in the Buzz tent but all the lame shit was on the main stage. I thought is was a waste of space but later was thankful for the main stage for one reason: It kept everyone who didn’t know much about Baltimore underground out of the Buzz stage and corralled somewhere else. The main stage was a big holding area for people who looked bored or confused. They were probably both.
The Drum and Bass Tent: Being from MI and spending my musical youth in Detroit my like has been techno and house music with almost no other electronic influences. Hey when you have Detroit you don’t need many other electronic influences. So Drum and Bass was never big to me. But in Baltimore the tent was packed all night and people in it seemed to know what they were doing. I give them credit for that. I never went into that tent but could see it very well from my perch that I picked out for the evening. I give those folks credit. They were into what they were into. I can’t hate on that.
The Beach Stage: This was the area with all the great views of the bay and bridge but horrible for sound overlapping. There were 2 stages there actually and I could only hear the music well from the left side of the DJ speakers because the right side blended too much into the live band’s bass drum from the other stage. Other than that it was a good stage with some pretty good DJ’s. It did look a bit wobbly but I only saw one person fall off it. Ouch. I saw some old friends from the older defunct Mosaic club (not the new douche bag hangout that it is today)
http://baltimore.metromix.com/bars-and-clubs/dance_club/mosaic-lounge-harbor/120878/content (yes those are my reviews on the metromix link) and even saw some of Baltimore’s finest bobbing their heads as they walked through. Not bad OT if you’re a Bmore cop.
Buzz Tent: Now this is mostly what I came to hear. This seemed to have the lineup of what the Baltimore in-the-know wanted to hear. This tent had the best sound, best setup and had the best crowd (but that’s biased, the DnB crowd looked legit too). The DJ’s that played this stage brought their A game for sure. I have to shout out Proxxy and Lantern here for an awesome set. They brought the thunder. Literally, the sound got shut down for about 30 min because of an intense lightning storm. But after the rain the duo finished up their set and proved that they could call down the thunder and also blast it away. Thanks guys. They even made the day cooler and a bit more breezy (my girlfriend seems to think she’s a meteorologist now and says that it’s due to the storm blowing the heat away. Don’t listen to her. I know the power of music better than she does). I’m still kicking myself, though, for missing the Krafty Kutz set. I only caught the last 10 min of it which really made me mad that I missed it. I wished I would have missed the entire set because that last 10 min was such a tease. I would pay $$ to hear that again. But I didn’t miss the Charles Feelgood set. I hadn’t heard this cat in a long time and wanted to know if he was still bringin’ it. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him in Baltimore. Hearing a DJ when they’re on the road is one thing but to catch them in their own house should be something different, and it was. He brought back a lot of classics and some records that I’ve never heard of but the local crew was going apeshit so I thought it was more of a Baltimore thing. I’m glad people had their ears on because he was fun to listen to.
It was also nice that the main stage went home after the Disco Biscuits were done “playing”. That just made traffic easier in the end.
So I was walking with my SueSue back to the car after sunrise and we walked back through the beach stage to see the sights one last time before making the 12 min drive back to Hampden (I love not driving an hour to party!). There was another party in progress that I didn’t know about. Where did this come from? The Beach DJ booth was being attacked and there was an all out assault in full swing. What was that? It was Joe Nice! Who is this guy? I don’t know but I want to hear more. NOW! www.myspace.com/joenice This is the way I remember partying. This guy was a showman, a character and one badass DJ. It was a dirty ass grimy house party and I loved it! Have you ever been to a show and heard someone you’ve never heard of before and never expected to hear but were just floored when you heard them? This is the best way to discover new music and in a way that ingrains it in your mind because you instantly love it. Free of hype or any build up because you were not even looking for it in the first place. That’s what this was.
I look back to the imagery of the DJ booth and imagine one of those old cartoon bombs. You know the ones, the big black ball that reads TNT with a lit fuse racing to ignition. Well this DJ booth had that bomb but rather than saying TNT the black shirt read in big white letters, like a warning sign on a bomb, “JOE NICE”. There was no fuse though. The explosion was already in progress! That’s what Joe Nice did for me. Thanks Joe. I hope to hear more from you in the future. Bring it back!
So yea, Starscape was better than I anticipated…musically. In other ways it should have changed its name to Irresponsibility ’08. What a mess of people. I couldn’t tell how many were there for the music and how many were there because they’ve been going there every year to get wasted. Usually, I have no problem with that but if you’re getting in the way of me and the music then you have to move or be moved.

** Here's a bio I scored on Joe Nice for anyone else who wants to be in the know.

DubWar NYC ; GourmetBeats
BALTIMORE, MD - www.myspace.com/joenice


Representing Baltimore, JoeNice is universally recognized as the ambassador
of the dubstep sound in North America and one of the purveyors of the sound
worldwide with his upfront selection and skillful mixing. Joe's show on
GourmetBeats.com was the first to feature dubstep in the states and this
platform has spread the dubstep sound on the airwaves, across America and
around the world. JoeNice is the first American-based DJ to play on London
pirate radio, RinseFM. A member of GourmetBeats, resident at a monthly party
in New York City called DubWar, recognized as one of URB's NEXT 100 for
2007, JoeNice is looking to make a difference. Be ready.

06 June, 2008

Sample Patron at WIne Source Today!

I just got an email from the Wine Source on Elm St. in Hampden. They have wine tastings every weekend but this Friday, that's today, they're sampling Patron Citronage. Yea!! Get on out there and get your free Patron samples. Really now. This blog sells itself. If you're in Hampden from 4-7 tonight get there and get your free swill on. And then go pick yourself up a nice Belgian White because there's really nothing better on a summer day. Oh wait. A nice farmhouse Saisson would be better. See you there

04 June, 2008

President Select Barak Obama

So you know we just selected our next president last night, right?
Barak Obama has all but cinched the nominee for Democratic candidate for president. How many out there believe me when I say that the president will be decided at the primary? All the rest is a dog and pony show. Correct that: a $500 million dollar dog and pony show. The showboaters will certainly clean up with that.
But really. We could save a boat load of $$ campaigning now if we just aceptd this widely opinionated fact. Facts as I present them here.


02 June, 2008

Give It Up For the Octopus!!

HAHA! I just read an article in the Detroit Free Press about t kid from Cleveland and die hard Detroit Red Wings fan who got into Melon Arena and threw an octopus on the ice! I was talking about this before the game with a buddy from Detroit. We were figuring out how you could sneak an entire octopus into a game and get it on the ice. Well check the link and the dude does it just how we planned. But he goes an awesome step further and has a backup scalped ticket ready to get back in after he is kicked out! Marvelous! Check the comments at the end of the blog too. Funny.
So I'll have my Red Wings jersey on at the ESPN Zone tonight to hopefully see the Wings bring the cup back to the Joe. Go Wings!!

Baltimore Mariner Arena Football!!

So how many of you folks heard about the Baltimore Mariners, the city’s new arena football team? No, it’s not the arena football league that you see on ESPN but a smaller regional league. They play at 1st Mariner Arena where there really isn’t a bad seat in the house, just cheap and expensive. So the Mariners are in their first season in the AIFA (American Indoor Football Association) and are so so rankings wise. But man what a good time. With team names like the Arizona Adrenaline and the Carolina Speed you know it’s fast paced. But you can also tell it’s a lot of fun with teams named the Utah Saints and Erie River Rats.
If you want to see precision passing and heroic plays then ya might want to stay home and watch the Stanley Cup finals. But if you want to hoot and holler and have a great time than Mariners football is a good place to do it. Unlike the NFL there is virtually no rules against taunting and showboating so at times it seems like you are watching professional wrassling in shoulder pads. Players taunt eachother and the fans. The crowd boos rival players who make a good play or put a hard tackle on any Baltimore players. And hard tackles happen as the arena walls are the boundary lines. Players get rammed into the walls that are only waist high and drilled into concrete with an Astroturf layer of cushion. And as far as players go this is probably their side job or their fun sport after work. Many players are walk-ons and former NFL practice squad players. The league’s motto is “Fast Paced Family Fun” and I think that sums it up. There are many kids at these games and many chances to meet and greet the players on the field after the game. There was a concert on stage after the game as well as many on field contests during media time outs. Unlike Orioles and Ravens stars, these players make it a point to meet their public and interact with them. That reminds me of the minor league baseball games that nowadays are more fun than the majors just because of the interaction with teams and fans.
I’d go back to a Mariners game. It was a fun time where I could be loud and rowdy in a family oriented sporting event. I could boo the other team and taunt them right back when they danced over a fallen player from the home team. All in good fun.