Zombie invasion? CDC has some emergency procedures for you

They come out at night …

… in search of brains …

… and the Center For Disease Control wants you to know what to do in the event of a zombie invasion.

Maybe the whole idea came from all those pepperoni pizzas washed down with way too much Mountain Dew, but the CDC put out a blurb outlining preparedness steps when the undead come a-calling.

Seriously. Check it out. Here’s the link.

“The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen.” wrote CDC official Ali Khan. “In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder ‘How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?’ “

One of the first things I think of immediately is that the CDC is a governmental function, and they’re screwing off on taxpayer time. But this CDC announcement may actually make more sense than just about any other governmental release. Well, kinda sorta.

“Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too,” Khan continues.

OK. Now we’re cooking. Khan then outlines some preparedness procedures that could serve you well in a pandemic, a hurricane, or zombie invasion.

Craziness aside, what I get from my reading is that it’s hard to sell preparedness to the public. Hurricanes are not sexy enough. Earthquakes don’t have that “it” factor. Even a multi-angled event such as a Katrina (featuring disasters such as a hurricane, massive flooding, societal breakdown and FEMA) and Japan’s recent earthquake/tsunami/nuclear trifecta aren’t enough to sway the populace in the semi-civilized world.

The CDC rationale, it seems, is to come up with something really over the top to garner public attention — such as a zombie takeover. It is unbelievably tempting for me to say something about how the zombies already took over several years ago and were the difference-maker in the 2008 Presidential election, but I’m not gonna say it. I’m not gonna say it.

Later with these pedestrian hurricanies, tsunami, nuclear mutant monsters from Japan, and even space aliens. All of these have been done to death, and in our ADHD culture, you’ve got to hit the public hard, frequently, and from a variety of angles.

I can understand that complacency, somewhat. I grew up in California, the place where visitors and new arrivals get scared because of earthquakes. Well, there are a lot of other scary things about California, but right now I’m just going to key on earthquakes. To a new arrival, any shaking of the ground is enough to trigger a full-blown panic attack. However, it takes a Richter Scale hit of at least six-something to move the longtime resident. Don’t pester me over a little trembling; if dishes fly out of the cupboards, then call me.

As far as construction goes, whole metro areas are built along earthquake fault lines. The Inland Empire, which for decades saw the fastest growth of any area in California, is nestled along the San Andreas and San Jacinto Faults. The San Jac passed underneath the a) the freeway interchange of I-10 and I-215 that had some pretty big skyhooks, b) the men’s department of Fedco, and c) the San Bernardino Valley College campus. Did I worry about getting caught in the mother of all earthquakes during my classes at Valley? Not at all. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

I now live near Charleston, South Carolina, known to outsiders as hurricane country. Every year we go through the same drill here — pick up a hurricane tracking map at the Piggly Wiggly, and make noises about putting together a plan. Which usually never comes off. Here, life goes on. We watch the hurricanes develop in the Atlantic, note that for a moment Charleston is named the primary target, then relax when the hurricane takes its usual dogleg right turn. We do have an evacuation every decade or so, but the last hurricane of any real consequence to hit the Lowcountry was Hugo in 1989. Since then the wreckage was cleared out, the sea islands were built back up, and everything went back to normal.

For the record, I do have a skeletal emergency plan in case the Son Of Hugo blows the roof off my mobile home. I have a backpack loaded with clothing sleeping bag, rope and tarp, plus some prepackaged rations I’m starting to collect. This is really in anticipation of a hike I’m planning, but if something weird happens before then (fire? Flood? The PC Police knocking at my door?) it’s nice to know I’m somewhat prepared.

Standard survival items, straight from the CDC, include:

* Water (1 gallon per person per day)
* Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
* Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
* Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
* Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
* Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
* Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
* First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)

Gee, I think I have room in my backpack for the best defense against zombies: A shotgun. Gotta be prepared for anything.


Parts of Arizona’s immigration law gutted; fight not over

This almost sounds like the perfect compromise because now, no one is pleased. For the record, though, Arizona’s immigration law has been gutted.
The battle’s not over; expect more talk about state’s rights to come.
However, I am hearing reports that illegal aliens are leaving Arizona in droves. Holding sidewalk sales, lightening their loads for travel, the whole smash.
Where do you think they’ll go?
There are 49 other states to pick, and it just might be yours …

Judge Blocks Parts Of Arizona Immigration Law – cbs5.com


Student opposes homosexuality, is expelled, federal court upholds expulsion

Now … if she was Muslim or Paiute or something like that, would the court have taken this stance?
Or would the judge have bent over backwards to keep her in school?

FOXNews.com – Court Upholds Expulsion of Counseling Student Who Opposes Homosexuality



Greene’s first speech shows slippery grasp of facts

South Carolina’s action figure hero/Senatorial candidate Alvin Greene made his first speech over the weekend, on his home turf and in front of a relatively friendly crowd.
To his credit, he didn’t screw the pooch in his not-quite-seven-minute speech to the NAACP in Manning, but let’s just say he doesn’t have a firm grasp of issues.

Greene’s statements don’t always match reality: Greene's statements don't always match reality
COLUMBIA — In his first campaign speech over the weekend, U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene pledged to get South Carolina back to work and decried the state’s bottom-of-the-barrel employment and public education rankings.

Let’s just say he’s fuzzy about a lot of things, OK? A lot of the stuff he’s saying is so garbled that you can’t even run it through the Bravo Sierra translator without it breaking.
A couple of samples:
GREENE: There are more people unemployed in South Carolina than ever before.
Wrong. Now it’s at 11 percent, or 238,000 people. Which sucks, but it doesn’t suck as bad as it did in January — 273,000 unemployed, at 12 percent. The rates have steadily improved since then.
GREENE: South Carolina spends twice as much per inmate as it does per public school student.
Right idea, wrong figure. The state does spend more per inmate ($16,300) than per student ($11,372). That’s not double. But then, Greene himself is a fine product of our South Carolina edjumication system, and has the degree (from the University of South Carolina) to prove it.
So where was he getting the data for his speech?
GREENE: “Research, multiple sources, everything, news. All of the above.”
And this guy swears he is a serious candidate. He actually has the nomination from a major party.
But he didn’t say anything about how a line of Alvin Greene action figures would benefit the state. And he didn’t say anything about Denzel Washington portraying him in a movie. Not this time anyway.
I guess South Carolina is safe.

Charleston County to privatize recycling

I really like this. An idea that is way overdue, and not done often enough.

The Post and Courier – Charleston County to farm out recycling – Charleston SC – postandcourier.com

In private hands, Charleston County’s recycling operation should make $1 million more each year than it does now, said County Council officials who voted Tuesday night to privatize the facility … Council approved a contract with American Recycling of South Carolina to run the facility in Charleston, and in another waste-related vote agreed to sell the site of the former garbage incinerator in North Charleston to Shipyard Creek Associates for an as-yet undisclosed price …

I’m not just thinking about the money angle here. See, when you take these government functions and have them done by the private sector, they generally will be a lot better run, more efficient, just better functions overall.

H’mmm … maybe the federal government ought to consider privatizing the medical industry? Just asking.



Getting interviewed by the Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is still at it, and I don’t think they believed me the first time.

Got a visit from some guy wielding a clipboard a few minutes ago. He’s with the Census Department’s quality control division, doing a little spot-checking.

“I sent mine in,” I reminded him. “The Bureau sent me two forms so I almost sent in two.”

Turns out “something happened” to the form I sent in, he told me. Yeah, I know exactly what happened to it. I sent it in with just the information that was needed under the Constitution, i.e. address and number of people living in my place. The rest was left blank. Understand, the Census is a head count; nothing more.

As a result, I earned an interview with the Census folks. This guy is probably a little younger than me, black guy with splashes of gray in his dreadlocks. Nice enough, but a bit nervous.

He asked me my address. Is this the correct one? I said yes.

He asked my name. I gave it to him, and told him it was just hearsay.

He asked my age. With a totally straight face and no shame whatsoever, I said I was 29. When he started to write that in, I told him the truth — 52.

“Male or female? … well, obviously,” he said as he wrote this down.

“Race?” he wanted to know.

Now, that’s a sticking point with me. That is really no one’s business. If you fill out a job application, they can’t ask for your race. Even including a picture of yourself in your job resume is a no-no because of the race angle. And, whether anyone will admit it or not, race does determine how much government money goes where.

But considering the U.S. Census is an official government function and it’s not smart to tweak the noses of the Feds, I gave him my answer.


Hopefully, this will end my involvement with Census 2010.



Geography lesson, or Where’s Arizona?

This came from commentator Neal Boortz, and it is proof positive that intelligence and/or a knowledge of geography are not required for elected officials. 

But then, Wisconsin is a long way from Arizona. Almost a different country. Oh, wait


Boortz: “OK .. now that I have made my sermon. Watch this video. This is Democrat County Supervisor Peggy West of Milwaukee demonstrating her exceptional knowledge of geography during a meeting. Unbelievable. You people of Milwaukee should be ashamed.”

Too bad the video ends right there, without showing West’s reaction for being so badly shown up. So I offer another snippet of video that may capture the county supervisor’s reaction:

Thank you, Gilda!



Getting a handle on Alvin Greene

So who is this Alvin Greene character, and why is he an actual nominee for a U.A. Senate seat from South Carolina?

It’s still a mystery. But he will run against Jim DeMint this year. That noise you hear is the sound of Democrats circling the wagons.

Understand, Demint is probably near the top of the Dems’ take-em-out list. DeMint shows strong conservative chops, and he’s become a favorite of red-state folks everywhere. He was considered vulnerable until last week’s primary. 

Greene won the primary with slightly less than 60 percent of the vote, beating out former judge and legislator Vic Rawl in the process. No one is real sure why; Greene has no money. He has no name recognition. He has no job. He’s a former military guy who was “involuntarily discharged” from the service six months before his hitch was to end. He faces obscenity charges; something about allegedly showing pornographic pictures to a college girl. None of this stuff came out until after the primaries.

And if you listen to this guy talk, well, you know he’s out of his league. He can barely string a coherent thought together. First few sound clips I heard of him, I thought, man, that’s some pretty strong medication he’s on.

In the days following the primary election,  Rob Groce of The Examiner visited Greene at his Manning home in an attempt to get a handle on this guy. Groce, a rock-solid Democrat who was chosen as national delegate from his home district in 2008, came away with an uneasy feeling:

Meeting Alvin Greene

That eerie feeling of being stuck in a still shot from “The Last Picture Show” came upon me once again as I turned my head to look around.When I later saw the photos, I noticed that Greene’s appearance and expression seems unchanged in each one. Frozen. Blank. Distant.Lost.Before I walked into Greene’s home, I was still incensed from the dreadful results of the primary election.When I walked out, though, I felt despondent, and not because of the election results that somehow got him the nomination. I felt so sad because it was obvious that Greene … well … isn’t quite all there. In my layman’s opinion, and which might not mean much to some, I think there may be some medical reason.And I don’t think he was always like this, either. After all, media confirmed that he majored in political science at the Univ. of South Carolina, graduating in 2000. In the military, he worked in intelligence. But he wound being involuntarily discharged from service six months early, and while in a much lower role than his first field of military intelligence.That could indicate that something happened to Greene. An injury, maybe? A medical problem that’s affected his behavior and response? PTSD? I’ll never know the cause, I guess. And don’t really care to know, since it’s none of my business to begin with.As a voting citizen of South Carolina, though, the elections here are my business. And Alvin Greene is clearly unable to hold office …  

I don’t think this Greene drama is over yet. Rawl is challenging the results, and filed a formal protest earlier this week. The national media is laughing — again — at South Carolina, and voters in the Palmetto State are just plain bumfuddled. 

Although he is the party’s nominee, Greene’s probably not going to count on getting a lot of support from there. According to House Majority Whip James Clyburn:

No, I don’t see myself getting behind Mr. Greene. The fact of the matter is, of course, I never said he was a Republican plant. I said he was someone’s plant. And it turned up after the elections, we found out, as I said earlier, something untoward was going on … now all of a sudden, we see that Congressman Joe Wilson — his campaign manager, was, in fact, managing the campaign of my primary opponent. I saw the patterns in this. I know a Democratic pattern, I know a Republican pattern, and I saw in the Democratic primary elephant dung all over the place … and so I knew something was wrong in that primary. And this result tells us that. People intentionally circumvented the law, the rules and regulations, did not file any disclosures, did not file any of their campaign finances, yet they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running this campaign and broke every law.

Don’t you just love politics? Isn’t it better than daytime TV?



Mystery Senate nominee Alvin Greene swears he’s serious; few agree

Just when you thought a little sanity had finally entered South Carolina politics, well, forget it!

Welcome to the political world, South Carolina style.

On Tuesday, some guy named Alvin Greene won the Democratic primary for United States Senate, to go against conservative Jim Demint.

Alvin who?

That’s what the Democrats are wondering. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn called for an investigation into the campaign. Party leaders are calling for Greene to step aside and let a real candidate run. Some party officials have even questioned his mental state. Greene, however, is saying he’ll continue his run.

It’s pretty obvious that South Carolina Democrats had a mass rectal-cranial inversion when they went to the voting booths this time around. 

By all accounts the 32-year-old Greene is an unemployed veteran, and no one is sure where he was able to pony up the $10,400 filing fee.

On top of that, Greene was arrested last November for felony obscenity, which he chooses not to comment on. But none of this stuff came up until after his nomination.

He beat out former legislator Victor Rawl for the nomination, with 59 percent of the vote. Besides his background, Rawl has a campaign war chest of $186,000 while Greene doesn’t have a pot to pee in.

“60 percent (of the vote) is not luck,” Greene told MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. “It’s a decisive win.”

Interesting, considering he really didn’t campaign. No one knew who he was. There was no indication he did any traveling. there is an “unofficial” website for him, which he says is not an authoritative campaign site. There was also a Twitter account for him, but he said that was not his either. It has since been taken down; a wise move considering he has far fewer followers than even my modest 635.

And Democrats are saying Greene is nothing but a Republican plant, a tomato can set up to run against top target DeMint. But Greene says that isn’t so.

“I have always been a Democrat, and I will always be a Democrat.”

His chief campaign pitch is the need for jobs. That’s a natural one for Greene, as he also needs a job.

You absolutely must check out this interview with Olbermann. It’s a real hoot. Folks on Twitter are calling it “the most WTF interview ever” (I’m not gonna explain what that means). Greene sounds out of it, uncomfortable, inarticulate in the interview, even with Olbermann’s softball questions.

According to Mother Jones Magazine, Greene is on intimate terms with these WTF moments:

“Greene insists that he paid the $10,400 filing fee and all other campaign expenses from his own personal funds. ‘It was 100 percent out of my pocket. I’m self-managed. It’s hard work, and just getting my message to supporters. I funded my campaign 100 percent out of my pocket and self-managed,’ said Greene, who sounded anxious and unprepared to speak to the public. But despite his lack of election funds, Greene claims to have criss-crossed the state during his campaign—though he declined to specify any of the towns or places he visited or say how much money he spent while on the road. ‘It wasn’t much, I mean, just, it was—it wasn’t much. Not much, I mean, it wasn’t much, he said, when asked how much of his own money he spent in the primary. Greene frequently spoke in rapid-fire, fragmentary sentences, repeating certain phrases or interrupting himself multiple times during the same sentence while he searched for the right words. But he was emphatic about certain aspects of his candidacy, insisting that details about his campaign organization, for instance, weren’t relevant. ‘I’m not concentrating on how I was elected — it’s history. I’m the Democratic nominee — we need to get talking about America back to work, what’s going on, in America.’ 

Has anybody figured out what he said yet? If so, please email me a translation.

Imagine how he’d do in a real debate, or in a conversation with a real reporter, providing there are any of those left. He’d be chopped up into cat food.

Not that this seems to make any difference with South Carolina Democrats. They voted for a name and a face, with no other information.

Shoot, if voters are that stupid, they deserve whatever candidate they get.

Meanwhile, it looks like it’s gonna be fun times in good ol’ South Kackilacky this November.



If it’s on the Internet, it must be true: Photoshop or not

Don’t you love this Photoshop thing?

Pictures can’t be considered real evidence anymore. Now, photos can be doctored so you can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t. And about a zillion people can doctor photos right there on their computer and release them on the Internet.

And you know how it works from there. It’s on the Internet so you know it’s true, right? If you believe that, I know a Nigerian princess who is willing to share her vast fortune with you.

I knew where photo technology was headed in the early 1990s when I was working for the Mohave County (Arizona) Standard. Matt Wanner, the publisher there, had a brand new camera he was dying to show me.

It looked like one of those cameras you used to get for free when you renewed your subscription to Sports Illustrated, but there was a port on the side where you could plug it into your computer. I was looking at my first digital camera. The camera cost a short stack of hundred-dollar bills back then; such is the way with brand new technology.

“Watch this,” Matt said as he took my picture. A minute later, my image showed up on the screen. Then he proceeded to alter that photo, using a new program called Photoshop.

“Wow,” I said as I watched my nose grow on the screen. OK, there are times I may dump a whole load of Bravo Sierra in your lap, but I thought the nose-growing thing only happened with Gepetto’s creation.

On screen, Matt proceeded to give me a haircut. I know there was some psychodrama involved there; back then a lot of my employers were after me to get my hair cut. I’d usually come back with two estimates, but that’s another story.

“That’s a pretty amazing thing,” I said, although inside I had this chilly feeling. Nothing is safe anymore. The practice of journalism was history as of that day.

“You mean I can take part of one photo, part of another photo, and call it real?” I asked.

True, Matt said.

“You mean I can take a picture of the President and put him in bed with Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and create my own sex scandal?” Hey, I’m a journalist. You know that thought has crossed my mind at least once.

There’s a joke there, by the way. The president then was Bill Clinton, the original “pants on the ground” guy when that expression meant something entirely different from what it does now. And Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former ambassador to the United Nations, was probably the only woman in history who could make Nancy Pelosi look hot. Not even Photoshop could help either one of them.

It’s not just Photoshop. There are a few other graphics editors that can doctor your photos just as well. My computer has GIMP, which is pretty close and a whole lot cheaper (try free). But you don’t GIMP a photo, but you can sure Photoshop it. That program is now part of the language.

OK. I promised. Some Photoshopped works:

This is PrezBo in the wake of the ever-growing BP oil spill.

And you mustn’t forget George Bush, checking out the scene of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Suffice it to say, BP may become Obama’s Katrina. But you already figured that.

Oh yeah. Here’s me, playing the last set of a two-day bluegrass festival. I was in four different bands and each of those bands played at least one gig at the festival — plus a Saturday night show elsewhere that ran into overtime.

If I can’t get my coffee in the morning, there’s always Photoshop. I might even look human.