Friday, October 30, 2009

Let's Say Thanks In Support Of Our Troops

XEROX IS DOING SOMETHING COOL

If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?

Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them. This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you.

Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brochure intended to help truckers around restricted routes in NY

Story Link

Brochure intended to help truckers around restricted routes in
NY


There’s ongoing confusion for truckers in New York about driving along certain routes. The problem has drawn the attention of multiple agencies, as well as Gov. David Paterson.


The New York State Department of Transportation and New York City Department of Transportation have put together a brochure, which is intended to benefit truckers who are looking to avoid situations where they might get caught up on restricted routes.

The brochure provides phone numbers and Web addresses for truck drivers in need of additional information or trip planning. Highlighting the concerns of bridge strikes on these routes, it also includes tips on what do when approaching a low overhead clearance. The restricted downstate parkways are listed and shown on a map.


Possible punishments and repercussions for getting caught on restricted routes also are listed.


The brochure stresses that relying solely on GPS units or online mapping is not advised, and it includes a plea to “always obey posted signage.”

In addition to the brochure, the agencies are working with the New York State Police and Westchester County as part of the Bridge Strike Mitigation Task Force. The groups are looking for solutions to the ongoing issue with truckers using restricted routes.

While the brochure is in line with the task force’s attempts to help educate professional drivers, Gov. Paterson has opted to pursue legislation that relies on hitting truckers in their pocketbooks.

The governor announced in mid October he is pursuing legislation that would require all large trucks to be equipped with enhanced GPS units to direct truckers away from restricted routes.

He says action must be taken to address the growing number of truckers who take routes with low clearances, resulting in so-called bridge strikes.

Truckers and their companies found in violation of the proposed rule would face numerous penalties, which could include confiscation of the truck, possible jail time, and the trucking companies or their insurance carriers footing some of the costs for repairing damaged bridges.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was pointed in its assessment of Paterson’s proposal. The Association says efforts like this in New York are causing quality trucking jobs to go elsewhere, as well as raising costs to consumers throughout the state.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note:
Please share your thoughts with us about the issue included in this story.
Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trucker Buddy drivers needed

(Poll closed - Results below )<------------- Check out the Poll on the top left side of the page. It will be open until 11/28/09.

I found this article over at LandLineMag.com. If your not a member of the Trucker Buddy program, now would be a good time to start. Trucker Buddy is a penpal program that matches up truck drivers with school class rooms. It gives the students a look at the world through the eyes of the drivers. They use the drivers letters to study reading, writing, geography, mathematics, social studies, and history. This also helps to improve the image of the "truck driver". The driver gets a little companionship while out on the road.

Since I'm probably not helping the cause by writing this in my own words, check out the brochure. You can get it here (PDF).



{Link}

Trucker Buddy drivers needed

The Trucker Buddy program needs a few good men and women, quite a few in fact. Since 1992, Trucker Buddy has been matching truckers with classrooms in schools across the country.

“We’re seeing an amazing level of growth in terms of teachers interested in this program – the number has at least doubled, if not tripled, in a matter of weeks. And that’s a great opportunity for trucking,” said Mark Reddig, Trucker Buddy board member and host of OOIDA’s Sirius XM satellite radio show, Land Line Now.

“This program is absolutely key to improving the image of truck drivers with the general public. Getting to kids at an early age with a positive image of truckers – and getting that same message across to their parents – not only helps us now, it will help us make this a better world for truckers 20 years down the road.”

Teachers use the program as an educational tool, often tracking their trucker’s travels on a map. Reddig reports a number of teachers signed-up this fall, and now they need about a hundred truckers to do the same.

“And it’s a great way for the kids themselves to learn a whole variety of subjects while having some fun,” said Reddig. “The folks already taking part in Trucker Buddy have proven this over and over. I would really strongly encourage folks to join that effort and help us expand the good work to even more schoolchildren.”

Trucker Buddy International has helped educate more than a million schoolchildren by introducing them to professional truck drivers. The ongoing success of the program is due to driver volunteers, participating teachers, and the contributions of sponsors, including OOIDA. There is no cost to the drivers or teachers to participate in the program.

Click here for more information.



Edit: 01/21/10 7:59 PM
Poll Results:

Are you a 'Trucker Buddy' (www.truckerbuddy.com)?

Yes - 0 (0%)
No - 1 (25%)
What the heck is that? - 1 (25%)
No but I think I'll join - 2 (50%)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still Around - Check out "Driving"

I just wanted to drop a line and let everyone know that I'm still alive and well. Nothing really new to report just that things have been VERY busy at work. I'm behind on not only posting to this blog but reading all the other great blogs out there. Rest assured that I have not forgotten about all of you and I will be trying to get caught up soon.

In the mean time, checkout the poem posted on Brad's blog, "Politically Correct.....not". He posted it in March but I'm just getting around to reading it.

You can find the poem here. It's called "Driving" and I think the point comes acrossed rather well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget!!!

Please take the time today not only to remember those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on 09/11/2001 and the heroes that lost their lives trying to save others but also the many, many soldiers and civilians who have lost their lives in the two wars that followed.

You do not have to agree with the wars but please support those who are forced to fight them.






(Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Crackberry" Addict

Hello. My name is TTB and I'm a "Crackberry" addict. (Crackberry is the nickname for Blackberry)

I just got a Blackberry Storm and I love it.

Saw This At Wal-Mart Yesterday

Saw this at Wal-Mart yesterday
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, July 31, 2009

Getting to know each other!

If you've been tagged or you are reading this, you have the honor of copying all these goofy questions, writing your own response, and tagging 25 other victims. You have to tag me so really you just need 24 more people. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you - but not in a creepy stalker kind of way.

You can feel free to post your results in a comment or if you have your own blog, post it there and post a comment here so I know you've done it.


1. What time did you get up this morning? 6 AM

2. How do you like your steak? Medium Rare

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Monsters Vs. Aliens and Star Trek at the drive in

4. What is your favorite TV show? too hard to pick one ... (in no particular order) Smallville, Eureka, Ice Road Truckers, Dollhouse, Heros, True Blood, House

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? a Caribbean island

6. What did you have for breakfast? Full Throttle energy drink

7. What is your favorite cuisine? is steak a cuisine?

8. What foods do you dislike? I'm a fat guy so there isn't much.

9. Favorite Place to Eat? LoneStar

10. Favorite dressing? Ranch or Russian

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? 2000 Chrysler Cirrus

12. What are your favorite clothes? A pair of jeans and a button-down shirt

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Greece, Russia, Japan, Hawaii, Caribbean

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full

15. Where would you want to retire? Caribbean island or maybe Montana

16. Favorite time of day? night

17. Where were you born? Wilmington, Ohio

19. Who do you think will not tag you back? Not sure

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? Not sure

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Everyone

22. Bird watcher? Only if it is a cooked bird on my plate

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night

24. Do you have any pets? do kids count....OK, 2 hampsters

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? nope...boring as ever

26. What did you want to be when you were little? rich

27. What is your best childhood memory? I don't remember too much.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? depends on the animal

29. Are you married? Yes

30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes

31. Been in a car accident? Yes

32. Any pet peeves? toilet paper roll going under, the thin plastic they put on things to protect them (remotes, etc)

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? MEAT

34. Favorite Flower? MEAT ... WHAT!?!?!? Meat isn't a flower....then no preference

35. Favorite ice cream? Chocolate with brownies with chocolate with fudge with chocolate

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Burger King

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Didn't...I almost aced it (100% on written, 95% on road) (my 4-wheeler license...haven't done the CDL yet)

38. From whom did you get your last email? Facebook Notification

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I no longer have credit cards.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Spontaneity...hmmm...I'll have to put that in my calendar

41. Like your job? Some days

42. Broccoli? raw and cooked

43. What was your favorite vacation? Orlando

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? wife and kids

45. What are you listening to right now? Two and a Half Men on TV

46. What is your favorite color? black or green

47. How many tattoos do you have? one

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? any one who reads this and a handful of others.

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 7:47 PM EST

50. Coffee Drinker? YES!!!!!!!!!!!

NOW, YOUR TURN

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A couple news articles to bring to your attention:


Troopers Become Truckers In Undercover Operation
Indiana State Police said 56 percent of all wrecks that involve a tractor-trailer and a passenger car or truck are caused by the driver of the car

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/20139742/detail.html

Stopping aggressive drivers around commercial trucks
Starting next week, the Idaho State Police are increasing enforcement to see if you got the message.

http://www.kidk.com/news/50980577.html

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's All In How You Ask The Question

I read an interesting post over at Land Line Media Blog talking about a poll that was done regarding increasing the size and weights of heavy trucks on the highways. The questions in the poll were definitely designed to lead the taker in responding in favor of the increase.

I recommend you check out the post which you can find here.

You can check out the poll questions here.

You can also find an in-depth piece that appears in the July issue of Land Line Magazine on the subject of increasing the size and weights of heavy trucks on the highway here.

So what do you think about increasing the size and weight limits?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

If a stealth bomber crashes in a forest, will it make a sound?

(This post is not about religion, it is about standing up for what you believe in. So please read it all.)

I was raised with the idea: "The squeaky wheel doesn't always get the grease, sometimes it gets replaced." Silence is gold or so they say but it seems that in today's society, those who scream the loudest get their way.

A good example of this is religion or the lack thereof. There has been a trend in this country (and I'm sure in others) where a small group of people who are against the idea of having anything to do with religion being a part of government, schools, sporting events, etc., seem to be winning. It seems like there is always something on the news about prayer being banned or the word "God" being removed from something. In a country that was built on the ideal of freedom of religion, more and more is being done to remove any sign of religion.

Now pick up any phone book and look up churches and see how many listings are there. I'm sure you will find a lot of listings. Or drive through town and see how many churches you see. There is a small town not far from me that in 2007 had a population of about 1,400 people and at one point had about 5 churches. I've also seen poll after poll after poll that shows a majority of people believe in God.

So, if so many people believe in God, why is anything to do with religion becoming taboo and politically incorrect? Why, because the smaller group screams the loudest.

If a group has a larger number of people, why don't they scream louder than the smaller group? That can be explained easily with the phrase, "someone else will do it". Yep, so many people are willing to sit back and let someone else take care of things. We are more than willing to sit back and complain but we aren't willing to do anything about it. We aren't willing to "scream". If you believe in something, do something. Make your voice heard....SCREAM. Get other people to scream too.

You would think that "organized religion" would be able to organize and stand up for what they believe in but I've seen a lot of churches that are willing to "scream" while in church, be it from the pulpit or wherever, but they aren't willing to organize and do things outside the church to stand up for what they believe in.

OK ... so where am I going with this you might ask?

The truck driving community needs to take a page from the anti-religion group. We need to "scream" louder not just sit around and complain. We all agree that truck drivers are targeted unfairly for a lot of things whether it is the environment or taxes or accidents. We need to organize. I'm not saying unionize...organize. Too many people say that truck drivers can't organize because they are always moving. In today's technological world, you don't need to be in the same physical place for meetings or rallies, etc. I'll let you in on a little secret … a secret called the Internet. Have you heard of it? How many of you have met and exchanged ideas with people not only across the country but across the world?

We can use the Internet to exchange ideas and to organize. How do we do that you might ask? We can do that in many, many ways. You can do things like posting blogs, joining forums, posting on major media outlets. You can keep up on current legislation proposals. You can use it to contact Congressmen, Senators, Governors, legislators. Don't just contact the officials from your home state; contact those that are sponsoring the legislation. (Check out the Contact Elected Officials page over at www.usa.gov.)

Join organizations that support what you believe in. OOIDA is a good example of a group that helps support truck drivers. They don't only support owner/operators, they support all truck drivers even company drivers. They actually go and speak with legislators. They follow the legislations that affect truck drivers. (Check out the OOIDA “Issues and Actions” page.) But, they can't do it alone. We must be willing to do our part not just sit back and figure “someone else will do it". Write your representatives. Call them. Stop at their offices. And I repeat, not just the ones from your home state. Let them know the problems that you face and where you stand on certain legislation. Do so in a calm, professional manner. Get non-drivers involved.

Truck drivers as a group are smaller than non-truck drivers but we can scream louder, if we choose too. Most of the time, we are fighting against ignorance.

Educate others outside of the industry. I said "educate". You don't want to come across as complaining. Believe me, before I became interested in truck driving, I didn't have any idea of the problems that faced the industry. I've researched a lot. I've read a lot of blogs and forums. I've had people who have helped to "educate" me. I may not be a truck driver (heck, I've never even ridden in a big rig) but I still try to do my part to educate people on the problems truck drivers face.

We have to make sure the “4-wheelers” of the world learn about the problems that truckers are faced with. They need to know that some laws and industry policies can actually make a driver unsafe. Yes, the driver of that 80,000 lbs missile they are driving next to is a professional driver, but they must do their part to help keep everyone safe. They need to know about the “No-Zones”. They need to know what it takes to stop a big rig. They need to know that anti-idling laws are endangering everyone on the road by making it harder for drivers to sleep. They need to know the dangers that truckers face by not having safe places to park (Jason’s Law).

Leave information or a copy of ‘Land Line Magazine’ in the doctor’s office waiting room or at the mechanics. Print out information, such as fliers available at the “No-Zones”, and put them up on the bulletin board at the grocery store or at the gym.

By educating “4-wheelers”, maybe, just maybe we will add more voices to our “scream”. We need all the voices that we can get. We must be heard. There have to be changes not only for the safety and well being of truck drivers but also for their families and for the families in the SUV driving next to that big rig with the driver who had to try and sleep in 100° temperatures without air conditioning.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blog Changes

Made some changes to the blog (colors, etc). Let me know what you think of them.

You can leave me a comment or use the "Reactions" buttons below ('good', 'bad', 'try harder').

Friday, July 10, 2009

Truck Driver DAC Report – Stop the Abuse

<----- please take part in my poll. It will be open until 07/24/09


I found this over at AskTheTrucker.com


Trucking companies abuse the DAC reporting system which can end the career of professional truck drivers. Please sign the petition to STOP False DAC Reporting. We believe this abuse by many trucking companies and the DAC Services is in violation of The Fair Credit Reporting Act and employee rights. Help end this DAC reporting abuse . . . sign the petition.





Friday, July 3, 2009

All Men Are Created Equal

I sit here pondering the 4th of July holiday and I'm sure that I'm not the only one that sees that too many people see this holiday as a time for fireworks and backyard BBQ.

I read something today that I thought was interesting. It was said by a man who wasn't even an American and who had only visited the United States on official business. That man was Pope John Paul II.

On December 16, 1997, Pope John Paul II was welcoming the Ambassador from the United States to the Vatican. The Pope gave the Ambassador (The Honorable Lindy Boggs) a little history lesson.

"The Founding Fathers of the United States asserted their claim to freedom and independence on the basis of certain 'self-evident' truths about the human person: truths which could be discerned in human nature, built into it by 'nature's God.' Thus they meant to bring into being, not just an independent territory, but a great experiment in what George Washington called 'ordered liberty:' an experiment in which men and women would enjoy equality of rights and opportunities in the pursuit of happiness and in service to the common good."

He went on to say:

"Reading the founding documents of the United States, one has to be impressed by the concept of freedom they enshrine: a freedom designed to enable people to fulfill their duties and responsibilities towards the family and towards the common good of the community. Their authors clearly understood that there could be no true freedom without moral responsibility and accountability, and no happiness without respect and support for the natural units or groupings through which people exist, develop and seek the higher purposes of life in concert with others."

I find it a little disconcerting that someone that never lived in America and wasn't an American citizen seems to understand the meaning better than most Americans.

This day is not to celebrate a day off work; nor is it about setting off a bunch of fireworks; nor a bunch of festivities and food; it is about the founders of the United States declaring that we would no longer be under the tyrannical rule of the King of England. It is about declaring that 'all men are created equal'. Now I know it took a long time before MOST people were equal in the eyes of the law and that there are still some groups are not equal in the eyes of the law and that as a society, there are still a lot of groups of people that are STILL not treated equally.

I think that if more people would take that time to read and think about the Declaration of Independence, maybe, just maybe, people would be more open to the ideal that ALL men and ALL women, "are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

Now I'm the first to admit that I do not necessarily like a lot of people but I still believe that they have certain rights, deserve a certain amount of respect and equal opportunities. By opportunities, I'm not saying that because a person is a member of a certain race, etc that they should be given special considerations for opportunities. Equality should be the same for EVERYONE. What has happened is that in order to try and promote equality, some groups have been given special privileges/opportunities that are causing other groups to be discriminated against. A good example of this is one group has a special college fund that is specific to a particular race. Now, let another race do the same thing and it is considered racism. By trying to promote the equality of one group, we've become blinded to the idea that we are in turn causing racism and inequalities to other groups.

Critically acclaimed actor, Morgan Freeman said in an interview with "60 Minutes" that aired back in December 2005 that the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it". "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says. What I believe he is saying is that as long as we keep categorizing people in groups by race or groups by religion or groups by sexual orientation, inequality will continue to exist. We are all guilty of saying 'my black friend said' or 'my white friend said' or 'my Jewish friend said' or 'my gay friend said'...during most of our conversations, does it really matter what race or religion or sexual orientation a person is that we are talking about? No it doesn't. We should just say, "my friend said" and stop dividing people into groups unnecessarily. I'm not saying that a person shouldn't be proud of their heritage but a person's heritage shouldn't give them any special rights. Should I go around calling myself a German-American because my family lineage can be traced back to Germany? Heck no!!! Should I be given special considerations or be treated differently because my family lineage can be traced back to Germany? Heck no!!! I'm an American. Should it matter if I'm black or white or brown or yellow or red, etc? Heck no!!! I AM an American. Should it matter if I'm straight or gay? Heck no!!! I AM AN American. Should it matter if I'm male or female? Heck no!!! I AM AN AMERICAN!!!!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I look at my children and I'm thankful that they do not see people as black or white or gay or straight. They see people as just that people. They don't understand why a person should be treated differently because of their race or religion or sexual orientation or gender. I hope that this is a sign that future generations will truly understand equality and that race, religion and orientation won't matter.

I think I've rambled on enough but let me leave you with this additional thought:

There have been a lot of people who have died and sacrificed so that America can have the opportunity for its citizens to be treated equally. Because of those people's sacrifice, I have the right to post this. You have the right to read this.

Please take the time to consider what the 4th of July holiday is about. Please take the time to consider what equality is SUPPOSE to be not what it currently is being represented as. Please take the time to thank someone who has served or who is serving to protect our right to equality.






IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its
powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is
their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove
this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.


He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our
legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province,
establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as
to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same
absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty
& Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract
Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which
Independent States may of right do. -- And for the support of this Declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge
to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

-- John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Sunday, June 14, 2009

By Our Poems, Not Our Corpses

Here is a little philosophy for ya. I read this passage recently and thought I would share it. It was written by Robert Ardrey. He was an American playwright and screenwriter who returned to his academic training in anthropology and the behavioral sciences in the 1950s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Ardrey

But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.

Friday, June 12, 2009

SiteMeter Counter

Noting much going on at the moment. I added a visitor counter at the bottom of the page. Got it through SiteMeter.com. Unfortunately, it started counting today so I don't have any historical data.

Help me get my counter number up and recommend my blog to your friends.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hybrid vehicles’ silence seen as posing peril

As "Knights of the Road", there are many drivers out there that will not hesitate to stop and help at an accident scene. The article below point out some hidden perils when it comes to hybrid or full electric cars.

Besides being a potential problem for those who are sight-impaired, they also could put someone responding to an accident in danger as well.

As the article states, one of the problems is knowing if a hybrid/electric are still on. Since an electric motor makes virtually no noise, it can be hard to tell if it is still on. “If it’s in gear, it can lurch forward and injure someone,” said James Surrell.

"In addition to a standard 12-volt battery under the hood, a typical hybrid engine uses another battery under the back seat that packs as many as 600 volts — more than enough to cause instantaneous death."

If you are a "Knight of the Road", please educate yourself so you can minimize the additional threats that a hybrid/electric car pose.


{Source}


MSNBC.com


Hybrid vehicles’ silence seen as posing
peril

Emergency workers share concern of advocates for blind
over quiet motors
By Alex Johnson
Reporter
msnbc.com
updated 7:53 a.m. ET, Mon., June 8, 2009

As the car crept up to them, the students didn’t react. It wasn’t until it was about to run them over that they even knew it was there. And that was only because it hit their white canes.

The hybrid car’s electric motor had kicked in. And the students, all of whom are blind, couldn’t hear it.

“It came up, and it was right there. We had no idea it was even coming,” said Chad Wilburn, one of students, who took part in a demonstration of the new hazard posed by the quiet hybrid vehicles earlier this year in Salt Lake City by the Utah Center for the Blind.

Advocates for the sight-impaired say the vroom of a conventional engine is the only sure way a blind pedestrian can know that he or she may be walking into the path of an approaching car. They have been pushing for safety measures for several years, and Congress is considering a bill that would order the Transportation Department to make sure hybrids and the coming generation of all-electric vehicles make enough noise to be heard.

But they’re not the only ones worried about the silence. Emergency workers are raising the alarm, too, saying it can be hard to tell whether a hybrid’s engine is still running at the scene of an accident.

“If it’s in gear, it can lurch forward and injure someone,” said James Surrell, a physician at Marquette General Hospital in Michigan, who teaches hybrid safety classes for rescue workers and emergency medical technicians.

Hybrids’ electronic motors offer several other challenges for emergency workers at the scene of an accident. The biggest is that they are electronic motors.

In addition to a standard 12-volt battery under the hood, a typical hybrid engine uses another battery under the back seat that packs as many as 600 volts — more than enough to cause instantaneous death.

There have been no documented reports of any emergency worker’s having been electrocuted by a hybrid battery in the United States. But in literature they publish for emergency responders, nearly all manufacturers include vivid warnings like this one in the first-response manual for the Nissan Altima Hybrid: “Failure to disable the high voltage electrical system before emergency response procedures are performed may result in serious injury or death from electrical shock.”

First puzzle: Is it a hybrid?
On the road, government safety tests indicate that hybrid vehicles are just as safe as their gas-powered counterparts. Any concerns come from what to do once one of them has been in an accident.

The high-voltage batteries are thoroughly sealed in protective metal, and there is little chance that they could leak or explode. In fact, hybrid engines are packed with automatic sensors designed to stop the flow of electricity on impact or whenever the side-impact air bags deploy.

But that assumes the sensors themselves haven’t been damaged.

In its guide for emergency responders, Toyota, whose Prius popularized hybrids in the United States, warns crews to “never assume the Prius is shut off simply because it is silent.”

Emergency agencies across the nation have added specialized training for workers responding to accident scenes involving hybrids, like a hybrid safety seminar last month at the Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont, Texas. That’s because “we’re worried about forced entry into a hybrid and using the jaws of life,” said Brad Pennison, a captain with the Beaumont Fire Department.

At these seminars, crews learn that the first difficulty is recognizing that a vehicle is, in fact, a hybrid, which calls for different procedures.


Most contemporary hybrids are built to resemble their conventional counterparts — a design philosophy the industry calls “mainstreaming.” Many can be identified only by a badge or a small logo; if that’s damaged or hidden by debris or another vehicle, rescue crews may have no obvious clue that there’s a high-voltage battery lurking in the wreckage.

If the “hybrid” badge is missing from the door of its Silverado and Sierra trucks, Chevrolet details a four-step inspection process that crews should follow to determine whether they’re dealing with a hybrid or a conventional engine. Steps 3 and 4 require opening the hood, assuming the emergency workers can get to it.

Saturn, meanwhile, suggests finding the vehicle identification number on its Vue sport utility. “If the eighth digit is a five (5), this signifies the vehicle is a Hybrid,” its responder guide says.


Just how do you turn this thing off?
Once crews know they’re dealing with a hybrid, the next step is to make sure it’s turned off. All manufacturers say simply switching off the ignition and removing the key is the best way to disable the system. But that’s not foolproof.

For example, even when the motors are disabled, “power remains in the high voltage electrical system for 5 minutes after the HV electrical system is shut off” in the Prius, Toyota says. On the Lexus GS450h, it can be as long as 10 minutes.

And those instructions assume that the key or the ignition system is accessible. If it isn’t, the next option is to disable the standard 12-volt battery, blocking power to the bigger, more dangerous battery.

Different vehicles have different ways to do that, information that rescuers must either know when they arrive at the scene of an accident or be able to quickly retrieve.

On Honda hybrids, crews are advised to remove the main fuse (they must have a Phillips-head screwdriver handy) and cut both cables on the 12-volt battery.

On Lexus’ GS450h, however, they have to remove a yellow fuse in the engine junction compartment block. On the Lexus RX400h, it’s a red fuse. But on the Lexus LH600h L, they should remove the IG2 relay.

Other hybrids call for non-intuitive steps that crews must take before they can even
try to disconnect the 12-volt battery. In the Nissan Altima, for instance, they first have to move the power seats and operate the power trunk release.

‘You need to know these little things’
If, in the worst case, emergency workers have to go near the big battery cables, they’re generally in luck. Nearly all hybrids color-code their battery lines in orange,
an easy visual clue. But in some Saturns, some of the cables are blue.

The color isn’t set by any law, meaning not only that there isn’t 100 percent consistency, but there’s no guarantee that manufacturers planning to enter the market will observe the unofficial orange standard.

Complications like that mean emergency crews have to take extra time to assess an accident scene, even if injured victims need rescuing.

“There’s this tremendous amount of electrical energy,” said Surrell, of Marquette General Hospital. “You need to know these little things about hybrids because of the potential electrical danger to the victim of the accident and the rescuer alike.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Expedite Expo 2009


Expedite Expo 2009

Why Attend?
Everything you need to see is here under one roof!
Expedite Expo 2009 is the best way to discover and meet the leading carriers, suppliers and vendors of the expedited trucking industry.


And it that is not reason enough, here are the
Top Ten reasons YOU can't afford to miss the
best and biggest Expedite Expo yet:

If it's new in expediting, it'll be here.
Exhibitors will demonstrate their products and services for you.
Get first tabs on the newest products, including expo-exclusive specials.
Find out who the new service-providers are and how they can help you.
Get the latest news and trend reports about expediting.
Hear what industry experts have to say about excelling at what you do.
Meet the carriers who are looking for owner operators.
Meet the owner operators who are looking for carriers.
Relax and enjoy Dave Nemo and other live music events.
Free registration, free parking and free admission to our cool, comfortable indoor expo.
Save time when you arrive: REGISTER ONLINE NOW!!

Heavy, drowsy truckers pose risk on the road - Another sleep apnea scare tactic

*** EDIT ****
Poll Results:

I only had 4 votes:

Is Sleep Apnea a real problem for truck drivers?
  • Yes! I think every truck driver should be tested. - 1 (25%)
  • Yes, I think ALL drivers should be tested (including 4-wheelers) - 2 (50%)
  • I don't know. - 0 (0%)
  • No, it is just another way to try and add more regulations to the industry. - 1 (25%)
  • No, It is just another way to get my money! - 0 (0%)
  • What were you saying? I dosed off. - 0 (0%)

=========================================

I would love to see your comments on this issue. Also, please take the poll (It should be right over there <-------- some place). The poll will be open until midnight on June 17th, 2009. {Source}




Heavy, drowsy truckers pose risk on the road
Scientists call for apnea screening; industry says weight isn't only factor

By JoNel Aleccia
Health writer
updated 8:34 a.m. ET, Wed., June 3, 2009




Truck driver Kenneth Armstrong is a big guy with a bigger problem.


At age 55, he stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 308 pounds, which doctors say helps to explain why he's been diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder that puts him at high risk for health problems — and falling asleep at the wheel.


"It was mild, but has worsened as I have gotten older," says Armstrong, a Michigan man who weighed 190 two decades ago, but gradually has put on pounds.


Fortunately for Armstrong — and the people on the road around him — his employer Swift Transportation Corp. of Phoenix is one of a small but growing number of trucking firms that voluntarily screen drivers at risk for sleep apnea and then pay to treat and monitor them for the potentially life-threatening condition.


Armstrong, for instance, wears a mask hooked to a machine that inflates his airways and restores his oxygen levels every night as he sleeps in his rig.


"I feel that I'm a much better and safer driver because of this CPAP," he said, referring to the continuous positive airway pressure machine.


But that's the exception, not the rule, according to sleep scientists at Harvard University, who have renewed a call for federal rules requiring mandatory testing of obese drivers. They say research shows there's a strong link between fat drivers and sleep apnea and that screening could help prevent truck crashes that kill more than 5,200 people and injure more than 100,000 each year in the U.S.


"It's a major public health issue and it's becoming more common with the obesity epidemic," said Dr. Stefanos N. Kales, medical director of employee and industrial medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Mass.


Kales, who is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, is the senior author of a study published this spring in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It's the latest to find that obesity is a strong predictor for sleep apnea, and that many drivers are likely to underreport symptoms or to fail to follow through on sleep study referrals and treatment.


"Screenings of truck drivers will be ineffective unless they are federally mandated or required by employers," said Kales, who studied more than 450 commercial drivers working for more than 50 firms.


New federal rules for obese truckers?
Regulators with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have been considering for more than a year new rules that would require screening for drivers whose body mass index — a metric based on weight and height — exceeds 30, the baseline for obesity.


A BMI of 30 means 221 pounds for a 6-foot man. Kenneth Armstrong's BMI equals 43. Researchers estimate that more than 40 percent of commercial drivers have a BMI of 30 or higher.


But the FMCSA has yet to act on the January 2008 recommendation by a medical review board, which frustrates groups representing victims of trucking accidents, who say that fatigue in general and sleep apnea in particular are under-recognized threats on the road.


"A driver is impaired by fatigue long before he falls asleep," said Jeff Burns, a lawyer representing the Truck Safety Coalition, a safety advocacy group.


"Every time I'm in the vicinity of a large truck on the highway, I believe my life is in danger. I give trucks a very wide berth," Burns added.


Trucking industry officials reject such comments as scare tactics, noting that the number of truck and bus accidents has held steady at about 161,000 annually for several years, despite more miles traveled, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

They argue that obesity is only one of many indicators of sleep apnea and that safety standards should be based on driver performance, not body size.


"There is no direct relationship between a person's body weight and his ability to drive an 18-wheel truck," said Tom Weakley, director of operations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents about 160,000 drivers. "Show me where that's a better predictor than a person's driving record."


Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person's airways to collapse during sleep, cutting off breathing dozens — or even hundreds — of times a night. Because sufferers wake over and over, they're never fully rested and their bodies are chronically deprived of oxygen. That can cause health problems ranging from heart disease to diabetes and symptoms that include daytime sleepiness and a tendency to nod off during normal activities.


"It can be a microsleep for few seconds," said Kales. "That can be enough to throw a truck off the road."


In such cases, the results can be devastating.


  • In May 2005, a Kansas mother and her 10-month-old child were killed when a truck collided with their sports utility vehicle, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. The driver had been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, but he went to another doctor who issued a medical certificate because the driver didn't disclose his condition.
  • In July 2000, a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer died when a truck struck his police car as he guarded a highway work zone, the GAO said. The patrol car exploded on impact. The driver of the truck had previously been diagnosed with sleep apnea and had had a similar crash three years earlier, when he struck a patrol car in Utah.


Nearly one in three drivers has sleep apnea
Sleep apnea increases the risk of an accident by two to seven times, and up to 20 percent of truck crashes are estimated to be caused by drivers who fall asleep, Kales said.


Prevalence studies suggest that up to 28 percent of commercial drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea. That works out to as many as 3.9 million of the roughly 14 million commercial drivers licensed in the United States, Kales indicated.


It's a much higher than rate than for the general population, where an estimated 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women between the ages of 30 and 60 in the U.S. have sleep apnea, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Overall, about 18 million Americans have the problem, although only about 10 percent of sufferers actually are diagnosed.


In the survey Kales led, 456 commercial drivers from 50 companies were studied for 15 months. During that time 78 drivers, or 17 percent, met screening requirements for sleep apnea. They were older and more obese, with higher average blood pressure. Of the 53 drivers referred for sleep studies to test for apnea, 33 did not comply and were lost to follow-up, researchers said. The remaining 20 were all confirmed to have sleep apnea, but, after diagnosis, only one driver complied with treatment.


It's not clear when the FMCSA will take up the issue of screening obese drivers.


"We are taking the Medical Review Board's recommendations under thoughtful advisement, and supplementing those recommendations with additional research in order to develop sound regulatory proposals," Candice Tolliver, an agency spokeswoman, responded in an e-mail.

But neither Tolliver nor Dr. Mary D. Gunnels, director of the agency's office of medical programs, responded to questions about a timeline, or about why sleep apnea doesn't appear on the agency's list of pending agenda items.


However, critics and supporters of the agency say the reason for the long lag is clear: Officials are leery of any proposal that could affect, or even idle, 40 percent of the truckers on the road. Costs for conducting sleep studies, paying for equipment and monitoring drivers could cripple independent truckers or small firms, said Weakley, of the independent truckers' association.


Link between obesity and crash deaths isn't clear
"Until you can show a direct relationship between sleep apnea and deaths on the road, they can't do anything about it," he said. "It won't fly."


The American Trucking Associations, a group representing some 38,000 members, is more circumspect. Christie Cullinan, director of workplace and fleet safety, said the organization recognizes that sleep apnea is a public safety issue and that the group supports the idea of guidance to detect and correct the problem.


After all, the average cost of a large truck crash involving a fatality is $3.6 million, FMCSA figures show. A crash with injuries costs nearly $200,000. And the average cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000.


Still, any guidance has to be the right guidance, Cullinan said.


"I don't think there's a CEO that doesn't know that screening for sleep apnea banks your safety dollars," she said. "But there's a balance that needs to be met."


As it stands now, sleep apnea screening is left to a single, easily dodged question on a certification exam, Kales and others said. As his study showed, many drivers simply ignore referrals for sleep studies, or they ignore the treatment. Some resort to "doctor-shopping," seeking certifiers who will overlook sleep apnea. That's primarily because they're afraid of losing their licenses, people on all sides of the issue agree.


"Truckers have quite a fear of disclosing that they get sleepy when they drive because it might mean their livelihood," said Wendy Sullivan, vice president of Precision Pulmonary Diagnositics, a Houston company that created a sleep apnea screening tool used by at least two trucking firms that have started testing their drivers.


One trucking firm, Schneider National Inc. based in Green Bay, Wis., became an industry leader on the issue after a pilot project begun in 2003 showed that screening drivers reduced crashes, cut liability costs, increased retention — and trimmed employee health expenses by more than $500 a month.


Now, the firm screens all of its 15,000 drivers and treats and monitors the 1,400 or so diagnosed with sleep apnea, said Don Osterberg, Schneider's vice president of safety and driver training.


'You're going to feel better and you're going to be safer'
"We want to remove those barriers," he said. "Come forward, let us help you get treated for this. You're going to feel better and you're going to be safer."


But officials at Schneider and Swift Transportation, the firm Kenneth Armstrong works for, acknowledge that change will come slowly, despite danger, unless it's mandated.


"The science speaks for itself. We know there's an issue out there," said Scott E. Barker, vice president of safety, recruiting and driver services for Swift, which launched its pilot project this year. "I believe there's going to be regulation. We're just trying to get out ahead of it."


Armstrong said he tries to do his part to inform fellow truckers about the benefits of sleep apnea detection and treatment. In the meantime, he's starting work on losing weight.


"I tell them, 'Get it done,'" he said. "You can't treat sleep apnea like a bad haircut, that time will solve it. It won't solve itself.'"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ready to be a First Observer?

I saw this over at LandLineMag.com


Ready to be a First Observer?

OOIDA is playing an important role in a federal program to involve truckers with homeland security issues. The program is now ready to register participants.


OOIDA is a subcontractor for First Observer – the Transportation Security Administration’s trucking security program. First Observer aims to develop training modules for highway professionals, train them for anti-terrorism and security preparedness, and receive information from those drivers.


If you have access to a computer, the best way to register as a First Observer is to go to the Web site, http://www.firstobserver.com/

. If you don’t have access, call the 24/7 number at 888-217-5902, and an operator will help you register.



The First Observer program is run by HMS Co. under a contract funded by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


OOIDA will provide training and outreach to its nearly 160,000 membership of small-business and professional truckers. Other subcontractors under HMS Co. include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Total Security Services International Inc., and Patton Boggs LLP.


“The Homeland Security award for the program was based on the strength of the team, and largely on the ability of OOIDA and the Teamsters to recruit, train and communicate effectively with highway professionals,” said Rick Craig, OOIDA director of regulatory affairs. “We’ll be working with HMS Company to train many truck drivers, who obviously have a unique position in being the eyes and ears on U.S. highways.”


OOIDA will be a program partner of First Observer, which will be based in the Washington, DC, area. First Observer has a staffed call center in the DC area, which is trained to gather pertinent information from trucking professionals.


Craig said the Association will use its resources to help recruit and train First Observer members and assist in outreach efforts to various other interested stakeholders.


OOIDA’s TRACER system, a stand-alone program that is funded and operated solely by the Association, is capable of communicating security-related messages, Craig said.


TRACER stands for Transportation Alert Communications and Emergency Response.


“In instances where Homeland Security issues an alert, OOIDA’s TRACER system could be used to push out the communication from the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center and other sources to First Observer participants,” Craig told Land Line.


Doug Morris, OOIDA director of security operations, is leading the Association’s First Observer efforts.


Morris said he expects many OOIDA members to participate in First Observer.


“OOIDA members will be encouraged to participate in the program’s diverse security training modules and to take advantage of the planned two-way focused communication,” Morris said.


– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer


charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com


Editor’s note: Again, for more information on First Observer, go to FirstObserver.com or call 888-217-5902. You can also call OOIDA at 800-444-5791.

Minnesota law bans large trucks from Stillwater Lift Bridge

Heads Up!!

Saw this over at LandLineMag.com

May 28, 2009

Minnesota law bans large trucks from Stillwater Lift Bridge

A new law in Minnesota makes a lift bridge northeast of Minneapolis off-limits to truck drivers.

Previously SF1091, the new rule restricts the length of commercial vehicle combinations using state Highway 36 in downtown Stillwater, MN, to 55 feet. It is common for truckers to use the route to access the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which crosses the St. Croix River.

Signs notifying truckers of the length restriction are required to be posted by July 1. The restriction will not apply to specially permitted vehicles.

Advocates say the ban was necessary to crack down on truckers using the Stillwater bridge to avoid inspections at the St. Croix Weigh Station/Hudson Port of Entry on Interstate 94.

Others say it will alleviate congestion downtown and reduce wear and tear on the aging structure.

“I regret having to impose restrictions on commercial trucks accessing the bridge, but until we can get a new river crossing there is simply no other choice. Public safety must be our number one concern, and we are hopeful these new limits will reduce the risk of personal injury and property damage in downtown Stillwater,” Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, said in a written statement.

Critics say it is bad public policy to prohibit vehicles from roads that are paid for with taxes. Trucking officials in the state say there’s no quick and easy alternate route.

Linda Marotz, part owner of DL & S Carriers in Stillwater, doesn’t buy that argument.

“They can go around,” Marotz told Land Line. “How hard is it for somebody to drive five miles down the road to go across the I-94 bridge at Hudson?”

Marotz, wife of OOIDA member Donald Marotz, said the ban is long overdue.

“As far as I’m concerned, they should have banned trucks on that bridge 10 years ago. It just makes sense,” she said.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Minnesota in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Roadcheck 2009 Is Coming

From a J.J. Keller Newsletter:

Get Ready Now for Roadcheck 2009 -
It Happens June 2-4

During a 72-hour period during the first week of June, over 8,500 inspectors will be inspecting over 60,000 vehicles.

That's a little more than 14 vehicles every minute.

Some facts to consider regarding last year's Roadcheck event:

  • A record 67,931 inspections were conducted.
  • Of the vehicles inspected, 20.8% were placed out of service for mechanical problems (that's about 14,130 vehicles).
  • The driver out-of-service rate was 5.3%, mainly for hours of service violations (that's approximately 3600 drivers).

Roadcheck 2009 is only a month away.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lost Generation

This is incredible - as you listen intently follow along with the words forward and then backward...... Make sure you read as well as listen.

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20 year old. The contest was titled "u @ 50". This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awestruck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Akiane: child prodigy, artist, poet


Akiane: child prodigy, artist, poet
(Pronounced: AH-KEE-AH-NUH)
http://www.artakiane.com

Akiane is an amazing artist and she is only 13 years old. You MUST check out her work. I can't even do her art justice. Please, Please, Please go check it out. She is amazing.

In case my pleas were not enough to convince you to check out her work, below is one of many pictures she has done and below it is a quote from her site.

Footsteps to EternityAcrylic on canvas, Age 13 (2008) 48" x 60"




• An internationally recognized 13-year-old prodigy, considered the only known child binary genius, in both realist painting and poetry.

• Selected as 1 of 20 most accomplished visual artists in the world by Tribute Entertainment (London) and ABI (United States).

• Kids Hall of Fame inductee.

• World Council for Gifted and Talented Children inductee.

• A best selling author of two books "Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry" and "My Dream is Bigger than I - Memories of Tomorrow"


International
Television Appearances

•The Oprah Winfrey Show
•Good Morning America
•World News Tonight with Peter Jennings
•The Glenn Beck Show - CNN
•The Lou Dobbs Show - CNN
•TBN
•The Montel Williams Show
•Co-host on the Wayne Brady Show
•Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
•Fox Magazine - Fox News
•Hour of Power
•Reflections - Crystal Cathedral
•“Indigo Revolution” (Documentary)
•Life Line - Miracle Channel (Canada)
•Extreme Prophetic - Miracle Channel (Canada)
•Record Television (Brazil)

National Television Appearances
•J.C. And Friends, Gannet Television - CBS
•Life Today
•Fox News Rising
•Time Warner Cable News
•KING TV - CBS
•KREM NEWS - CBS
•KETV - ABC
•WBTV - NEWS 3
•KONG TV - ABC
•SEATTLE LIVE
•Northwest Afternoon - ABC

A featured celebrity in
•Time Magazine
•Today's Christian
•Voice of the Prophetic
•Sun
•The Scotland's Weekly News
•Yen Akuel/Turkey
•The Weekly Reader
•Spokesman Review
•The Southeast Outlook
•The Press
•The Daily Bee
•Idaho Magazine
•Business Journal
•The Omaha World Herald
•Missouri Valley Times
•The Daily Nonpareil
•The Heartland Gatekeeper
•The Grit
•Yahbooks
•Life Site News
•The Winner
•The Trojan News
•The Evening Magazine
•Charlotte Women
•Charlotte Weekly
•and numerous other publications around the world.


• Solo art exhibitions at the age of 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 in Idaho, North Carolina, Iowa, California, Washington,Virginia, Oregon, Arizona and Utah.

• Solo art exhibition at age 10 and 11 at the Museum of Religious Art, Iowa.

• Group art exhibitions in Missouri, Florida and Toronto, Canada.

• Akiane donates a substantial portion from the sales of her paintings to select charities. The reproductions, prints on canvas, are available in limited editions on all images. To purchase the originals or giclees, please call ART AKIANE, LLC at: 208-687-1777 or email at: love@artakiane.com

• Exhibition at Art in the Embassies Gallery for USA in Singapore.

• Akiane's web site receives on average 150 million hits a year.

Monday, March 16, 2009

On Elephant Sanctuary, Unlikely Friends

On Elephant Sanctuary, Unlikely Friends
CBS Evening News: Steve Hartman Looks At What Difference A Couple Of Tons Makes - Or Doesn't - For Two Old Friends



{Source}

(CBS) When elephants retire, many head for the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald,Tenn. They arrive one by one, but they tend to live out their lives two-by-two.

"Every elephant that comes here searches out someone that she then spends most all of her time with," says sanctuary co-founder Carol Buckley.

It's like having a best girlfriend, Buckley says - "Somebody they can relate to, they have something in common with."

Debbie has Ronnie. Misty can't live without Dulary.

Those are pachyderm-pachyderm pairs. But perhaps the closest friends of all are Tarra and Bella.

That would be Tarra the 8,700 pound Asian elephant. And Bella. The dog.

"This is her friend," Buckley says, scratching Bella's tummy. "Her friend just happens to be a dog and not an elephant."

"Bella knows she's not an elephant. Tarra knows she's not a dog," Buckley adds. "But that's not a problem for them."

Bella is one of more than a dozen stray dogs that have found a home at the sanctuary. Most want nothing to do with the elephants and vice versa. But not this odd couple.

"When it's time to eat they both eat together. They drink together. They sleep together. They play together," Buckley says.

Tarra and Bella have been close for years -- but no one really knew how close they were until recently. A few months ago Bella suffered a spinal cord injury. She couldn't move her legs, couldn't even wag her tail. For three weeks the dog lay motionless up in the sanctuary office.

And for three weeks the elephant held vigil: 2,700 acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner, beside a gate, right outside that sanctuary office.

"She just stood outside the balcony - just stood there and waited," says Buckley. "She was concerned about her friend."

Then one day, sanctuary co-founder Scott Blais carried Bella onto the balcony so she and Tarra could at least see each other.

"Bella's tail started wagging. And we had no choice but bring Bella down to see Tarra," Blais says.

They visited like that every day until Tarra could walk. Today, their love -- and trust -- is stronger than ever. Bella even lets Tarra pet her tummy - with the bottom of her enormous foot.

They harbor no fears, no secrets, no prejudices. Just two living creatures who somehow managed to look past their immense differences.

Take good look at this couple, America. Take a good look world. If they can do it - what's our excuse?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

English Language Unity Act - Bill # H.R.997

I just took action on this issue and thought you might find it interesting too.

Click on this URL to take action now
http://capwiz.com/proenglish/utr/2/?a=12660406&i=92031988&c=


Congressional Legislation
English Language Unity Act of 2007
Bill # H.R.997

Original Sponsor:
Steve King (R-IA 5th)

Cosponsor Total: 121
(last sponsor added 10/03/2008)
7 Democrats
114 Republicans

About This Legislation:

H.R. 997 would protect English as our common language by making English the official language of the United States.

ProEnglish supports this bill because it would:

  • Protect English by giving it an "official" status in law that it has never had before.
  • Repeal the "multilingual mandate," Executive Order 13166,which currently requires federal agencies and funds recipients, including state and local governments, to provide translations and interpreters for non-English speakers in their native language.
  • Reform U.S. naturalization requirements by directing the Department of Homeland Security to develop a standardized English exam that would be given to candidates for naturalization.
  • Enable taxpayers to sue the federal government to stop bureaucrats from violating the law.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nasty Truck Stops

I guess this sight only started a few days ago.
http://www.nastytruckstops.com/

{'from NastyTruckStops.com'}

Enough is enough!!! Join the fight against the disgusting facilities. We get raped by their obscene prices and put up with the awful service-- Now its time for PAYBACK!!


With enough cooperation from fellow drivers we can shame these places into shaping up-- or at least make the headquarters aware of the store's poor performance.

Truck stops caring about cleanliness??! Ok, that is crazy. At least we can have some type of warning for each other to know where NOT to go. Did you see a worker not wash their hands? Mishandle food? Let us all know!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

18-Wheeler Plow Through An Obstacle Challenge

Plow Through An Obstacle Challenge

SEASON 12 / EPISODE 1 November 02, 2008 LENGTH 4:08

In another test of their truck-driving skills, Jeremy, Richard and James must accelerate, plow through an "obstacle" and stop on a dime. Is there a medic in the house?


If the embedded doesn't work, here's the link:

http://www.topgear.com/us/videos/more/the-plow-through-an-obstacle-challenge

18-Wheeler Challenge: Powerslides

18-Wheeler Challenge: Powerslides

SEASON 12 / EPISODE 1 November 30, 2008 LENGTH 3:08

After choosing their own, personal 18-wheelers, Jeremy, Richard and James arrive at a skidpad to powerslide the hulking barges. Believe it or not, this is not the lorries' forté.


If the embedded doesn't work, here's the link:

http://www.topgear.com/us/videos/more/18-wheeler-powerslides

18-Wheeler Alpine Challenge

18-Wheeler Alpine Challenge

SEASON 12 / EPISODE 1 November 02, 2008 LENGTH 7:54

Jeremy, Richard and James race the stunning Alpine course in custom 18-wheelers hauling delicate cargo. Who will master his truck's 18 gears and win the challenge? The better question is: Who goes up in flames?


If the embedded doesn't work, here's the link:

http://www.topgear.com/us/videos/more/the-18-wheeler-alpine-challenge

Friday, February 13, 2009

Top Ten Deadliest Stretches of Road in America

Here is a safety reminder.



Top Ten Deadliest Stretches of Road in America
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

By Maxim Lott


While Congress is busy hammering out the details of the $838 billion-and-counting economic recovery bill, the 50 states are already releasing their wish lists for the projects they want to see funded. Among those are numerous roads and highways that they want to see improved.

But where do you start? Which pothole do you fill first?
FOXNews.com analyzed data from crash reports over the last five years to determine which stretches of the nation's roads had the highest number of deadly accidents.
Not too surprisingly, the most populated state, California, had four of the top 10 roads in numbers of fatalities. And three of those top 10 were stretches of the same Interstate — I-10 in California and Arizona.
Eight of the top 10 were in Western states — California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas. The other two roads were in Florida. And all but the last road on the list were major Interstates.
If you live in the neighborhood, you probably already are aware of the danger that lurks ahead. If you don't, but you're planning on doing some cross-country travel, be alert:
Roads With the Most Fatalities Over The Last 5 Years, By County
1) 346 deaths: I-15 in San Bernardino County, California
Ironically, many fatalities on this stretch of I-15 may be because the road is so straight and wide.
“That road will put you to sleep,” said Baker Fire Station Chief Dan Tellez, whose station deals with all the emergencies along 75 miles of the highway. “And a lot of people tend to be speeding because it's so wide and so straight.”
Alcohol also plays a role in this highway's death toll. “We get a few people driving under the influence, coming from Vegas after partying all night,” Tellez said.
An accident last week killed two people when their car crashed into water barrels lining the freeway.
2) 182 deaths: I-10 in Riverside County, California
Two people were killed and four were injured in a four-car crash here in January, after a pickup truck veered into oncoming traffic.
But don't blame the road design, local officials say.
"Most of it doesn't have to do with the road per se," said California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Chris Blondon, whose area includes part of I-10 in Riverside. "It more has to do with the drivers. Most of the crashes we see along that area are due to unsafe speeds. They're going too fast for the road conditions."
3) 178 deaths: I-10 in Maricopa County, Arizona
A local musician was killed in September after an 18-wheeler turned over in front of him.
State officials say the road is too narrow for the amount of traffic it now handles. Some parts are already being widened, and the state is asking for $61 million in federal stimulus funding to widen the rest of the road and do minor repairs.
"The purpose of the I-10 widening is to transform it from a rural style highway to an urban one," Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Timothy Tait said. "Right now it has two lanes in each direction, which is very inadequate for a place like Phoenix."
4) 158 deaths: I-5 in Los Angeles County, California
On Oct. 12, 2007, a speeding truck crashed into a concrete barrier in a tunnel near Santa Clarita, causing a chain reaction of crashes. Three people were killed and 26 vehicles were destroyed in an inferno that engulfed the tunnel. The fire shut down the highway for two days.
This week, a California Highway Patrol report determined that speeding was the primary cause of the accident — at least 13 of the vehicles were going over the speed limit.
But Saia Motor Freight, the company that owned the truck that started the chain reaction, told the Los Angeles Times that poor lighting conditions in the tunnel and inadequately maintained warning signs were to blame. The California Department of Transportation said it has since improved conditions in the tunnel.
5) 153 deaths: I-45 in Harris County, Texas
A man was killed last month when he was speeding and missed a turn on I-45 near Fuqua. The car rolled over at least twice and ended in a ditch, FOX 26 reported.
State officials say the sheer amount of traffic on the road is the main problem.
"[I-45] is a major traffic corridor through the city of Houston. Whenever you have more cars, you're going to have more crashes," said Mark Cross, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.
The Texas DOT has identified $3 million in safety improvements, such as signs and pavement markings, that it would like to see funded with federal stimulus money.
6) 148 deaths: I-15 in Clark County, Nevada
Two men died in a head-on collision in September, caused by one of the drivers going in the wrong direction on the freeway.
But this road is getting better: Fatalities fell from 39 in 2006 to 19 last year.
Kevin Honea, a trooper with the Nevada Department of Public Safety, attributed the decline in fatalities to increased police activity, which has been particularly focused on this stretch of I-10 going from California to Las Vegas.
“Biggest reason is an increased officer presence out there,” Honea said. “We’ve got a very aggressive group of guys out there.... People see our officers, and they know they had better buckle up.”
Scott Magruder, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation, said major projects to widen the highway and add an express lane are under way and due for completion next April. Less congestion should improve safety even more, he said, as drivers feel less of a need to weave between lanes.
The state is planning another widening of the road between Tropicana and State Road 160, which would cost up to $250 million. Magruder said funding from the proposed stimulus bill may help pay for that.
7) 131 deaths: I-95 in Palm Beach County, Florida
The driver of a gasoline tanker truck was sentenced to 35 years in prison in December after being found responsible for an accident in which his truck turned over on a car, exploded, and killed four people.
Prosecutors said the driver was going 25 miles per hour over the speed limit and had not taken the mandatory rest breaks for truck drivers.
The Florida Department of Transportation has listed $160 million in additions and repairs to I-95 in its wish list for federal stimulus money.
Tied for 8) 118 deaths: I-10 in Pinal County, Arizona
Local firefighters who respond to calls on the road say a main problem is bored drivers who fall asleep.
"It's probably one of the straightest sections of I-10 there is," said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Morgan of the Casa Grande Fire Department. "This stretch of the road is basically the center point between Tuscon and Phoenix. It's a long-distance trip, and we're at the middle point.... Most people who survive wrecks usually tell us they were getting fatigued."
Tied for 8) 118 deaths: I-5 in San Diego County, California
A pregnant woman was killed in January after another car clipped her vehicle while switching lanes. The offending driver will stand trial for speeding and driving recklessly.
10) 102 deaths: US-1 in Miami-Dade County, Florida
A woman was sentenced to three years in jail in 2007 after making a U-turn that led to the death of a motorcyclist. She was also sentenced for possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
The state stimulus spending wish list includes over $100 million for US-1, the only non-Interstate road on the list.

Coffee Filters - Who Knew!

COFFEE FILTERS

Coffee filters ...who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing. I haven't tried all of these but they sound reasonable.


1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. They make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China. Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a filter to prevent soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. Soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."

OH YEAH THEY ARE GREAT TO USE IN YOUR COFFEE MAKERS.