Is it possible that this George Zimmerman was actually acting in self defense when he shot Trayvon Martin?? As soon as this story went national many people assumed that Zimmerman was a racist looking to shoot someone. Many people assumed that Martin was minding his own business. And of course many people were very quick to jump on the racial bandwagon. And those assumptions might actually be true in this case. But if you recall I was quick to mention that we don't yet know the details and facts of the case. That is still my stance this morning. Until there is a trial and due process we will not have enough information to decide what really happened that night.
I did just see a picture of the back of Zimmerman's head that was taken when he was initially brought in by police after the shooting. Frankly his head looked like it had been swiped a few times with a knife. Now…we don't yet know the circumstances of how Zimmerman got the wounds on the back of his head. But it certainly leaves open the possibility that he went for his gun out of self defense.
Time will tell. I just hate to see people jump the gun in cases like this. It happens far too often in our country. It's the same with the Sandusky trial. I don't think we really want to become a country that persecutes people BEFORE they are found guilty of a crime, do we? Don't get me wrong…I'm a "hang em high" kind of dude. But we have to wait until there is no doubt about guilt before we punish people.
--Congratulations to JC Fultz on being named the Illinois Broadcasters Association "Weathercaster of the Year"! I've said here many times that JC is the best we have and now he has some hardware to prove it. He works very hard to better himself at his job and certainly deserves the accolades.
--Yesterday I did something I have been thinking about doing for a long time. I unplugged my cable box and took it back to the cable company. The cable has been shut off at my house! We still have internet and now without the split signal going to both internet and cable the internet connection is lightning fast.
In lieu of cable service we will be using Netflix, HuluPlus, YouTube, and in the next couple of months an HD antenna to get access to the shows we like to watch. When you boil it all down we are saving about $50 a month by dropping cable.
I mentioned here last year that we were studying a little bit of Dave Ramsey's techniques. And while we haven't swallowed all of it hook, line, and sinker we have adapted some of his programs to match our lifestyle. We dumped cable…we've both been working very hard to be entirely debt free…and Faye has been couponing and has already saved us hundreds of dollars in a short amount of time. We just decided a while back that we want to own our own lives instead of being owned by the banks. We still have a ways to go to get rid of student loan, mortgage, and car debt…but we are well on our way and doing very well with things. In this economy the winners in the end will be the people that don't owe anyone anything…and we want to be on that list as soon as we can get there.
--Summer begins around 6:09 this evening.
--Today being the final day of spring we will have another day of heat and humidity. And then tomorrow being the first full day of summer this year we're expecting storms and cooler air. Go figure.
--It has been a long time since I have had a full week off from work. Coming up for the Fourth of July week I have the entire week off! I am so looking forward to this vacation. Every year around that time I go out to California with family to see family out there. It's always a fantastic time and this year will be even better. I've been thinking about the trip a lot this morning so I thought I would share that with you.
--Yeah. That is about all I have going this morning.
--I'm really starting to feel like the cranky old man around here with this blog. This morning I was going through my routine and updating the forecast on all of our various media. I accidentally sent out a blog update email with the forecast on it. As I was going through the process I noticed that it is quite a bit different this morning. That means someone changed things on me! Argh! Get off of my grass…and stop changing things! See…cranky old man. No worries…I will adjust to the changes for now.
Just put this issue on the list next to the crappy comment system on our blogs! I will keep the comments section open maybe through the first couple of weeks of July just to see how it works. But so far I don't like having all of the comments at the bottom of the blog. Isn't it rough having all of these "First World problems"?? It's like kids flipping out because their IPhone isn't working properly.
--Roger Clemens was found not guilty on all counts that were against him. I won't delve too much into his trial because my guess is many of who are asking "Who??" right now. But he was a pro baseball player that was indicted for allegedly lying to Congress about performance enhancing drugs. I've been listening to the legal pundits talk about the trial and it sounds like the government really screwed the pooch on this one. The only opinion I have about this whole thing is that our government just wasted millions of dollars trying to convict a baseball hero for lying to them. Aren't there more important fish to fry?? They should take a look at Wall Street and the banks…although we've been told those crooks weren't actually breaking any laws.
On Friday I changed the blog to make it possible for you to directly comment at the bottom of the blog. As always I will be honest here…I am not thrilled with how it is set up. The comments stay at the bottom of the blog and I wonder if the comments will just stay at the bottom continuously or if they will be able to move with the archives. I'm telling you all of this to let you know that I may disable that and go back to "Feedback Friday" if it ends up sucking. So far I am confident that it is going to suck. (Nothing like attacking it with a positive attitude, right??) But we will give it a go.
Faye and I got to spend a lot of time with parts of our respective families this weekend. Saturday was a "day trip" to the Peoria area to see some of my family. And Sunday was time with her parents. It is always great to see everyone. Getting together always reminds me that it would be nice to see people more. But unfortunately life doesn't really allow for that. And with families so much more spread apart these days it just makes it that much tougher to get together.
This next week is going to be a scorcher. Temperatures will be in the lower to mid 90's until Friday. Even on Friday we will be in the upper 80's. Hang in there!
I've been thinking about books this morning. At home I have many, many books on many, many different topics. But if you ask me the last time I read any of the books I would struggle to answer the question. And that makes me wonder why I still have all of these books. To be honest…I haven't even read all of the books I have. And the books I have read are not likely to be read by me again. So basically I am carrying around all of this paper with me everywhere I live that I will not likely ever read again. Lately that seems stupid to me.
So I think one of my short-term goals going forward is to get rid of this dead weight. Maybe there are people out there that could get some use out of these materials that I have no used in so long. It seems a shame for me to hoard these things when they are apparently completely useless to me. I think it is time for me to look for places that buy old and lightly used reading materials. If you know of any places like that feel free to give me a heads up!
From David (6/13/12):
Duck calls are less annoying than a crow call is. LOL Next week, a turkey call. That takes some practice.
Well now you've piqued my interest, David. I might have to look for a turkey call!
From Mom (6/14/12):
I saw the picture posted on WAND FB page almost as soon as it was posted. The picture of the dark colored car looked exactly like my friend Linda's car. Even tho it was in Christian County it frightened me, knowing that my friend travels around the state to shop, etc.
I attempted to call Linda on her cell...no response. I attempted to call her land phone, no response. For several hours I was very nervous about her whereabouts, until she finally responded to my messages.
As you said in your blog, there is no good way to learn of bad news. On one hand I would not have been put through several hours of the upset had I not seen this picture on FB, but on the other hand WAND news has a responsibility to the public to report news...good or bad. I had no ill feelings toward the news station for reporting the incident, it is their job.
Hi, Mom! Thanks for chiming in on the subject. Many, many people commented on the picture of the accident on Facebook. I will post some of those comments here and not likely comment on those comments myself. But this latest issue with the picture on the station's Facebook page has prompted me to allow direct comments on this blog. That means when you read the blog you will just be able to post on it. That also means that I am trusting you Gregorians to keep it clean on here!
From Jody (6/14/12):
I've never been personally affected but I know Scott's family was unhappy when the local paper printed a photo of his mother's accident. It took a very deep and personal loss and made it public. I can't imagine when a death is involved any of us would want the scene published for all to see. I know I wouldn't.
From Jennifer (6/14/12):
I don't feel media should release names or personal info before the family is notified; however, I don't feel that anything personal was released in this case. I do feel that it's nice for the media to release information about these types of situations once all family has been notified. Sometimes it allows friends and co-workers to know to offer support and a helping hand to the family after the incident.
From David 6/14/12):
I see nothing wrong with pictures of the vehicles involved. Bodies of accident victims would be another story . There's always going to be someone that is not informed and learns of a death of a friend or family member through some sort of media , be it TV radio or newspaper, or Facebook , for that matter. You can't please everyone. You just have to do what you think is right and in good taste.
From Amy (6/14/12):
I would want to know the fastest way possible if a loved one had been hurt or killed. I would want to be with them as quickly as possible. I agree that Law Enforcment can take too much time determining identity and notifying next of kin. ...If I saw a photo on your news station I would be forever indebted and grateful for finding out a little bit faster. You are right. There is NO good way to get that news. The fastest way is the best way in my opinion.
From McKenzie (6/14/12):
My brother was killed in an accident on I72. Had I not seen the news footage I wouldn't have made it to the hospital in time to say my final goodbye. It would have been hours later before formal notification.
From Lesley (6/14/12):
NO photos should be shown ANYWHERE until the families are notified.
From Jack (6/14/12):
I understand if it's outside, it's "in the public" so you can take all the photos you want. However, what if someone recognized the car, or a piece of clothing? Or mistakenly thought it was their friend's auto that had the deceased in it. Here's a thought, report the crash, but only release the video/photos after clearance by the Coroner's Office. I know it's a fine line to walk, and my brother has had to do that in his 30 years of Journalism, and my 30 years of EMS, we've argued this point before....
As I mentioned yesterday…our news director is the person that has final say in just about anything that comes out of our newsroom. His name is Tai and he does a blog on our website called "Out on a Limb". Yesterday I said it would be nice if he would sound off on this topic…and he did. Hit his blog to get his thoughts on making a call like running this photo.
Thanks for the thoughtful comments to a touchy subject. Like I said…going forward I will try to make it easier to post feedback on this blog. Just help me out by not getting me into trouble with "naughty" words on the blog!
--There was NO duck call or crow call or any other kind of calling device on the desk when I came in to work this morning. That means unless something changes I will not be irritating my co-workers this morning…at least not by making obnoxious bird noises.
--Did you happen to check out the TV station's Facebook page yesterday? Sadly there was a lethal auto wreck on Route 51 yesterday and someone from our station was on the scene. There were pictures taken of the wreckage and one of the pictures was posted on the station FB page. I saw the picture. It showed both autos but no license plates. There were no bodies shown. There were several emergency personnel in the picture. And lots of wreckage.
Not surprisingly people flipped out over the fact that we put the picture on the FB page allegedly before the families were notified. From feedback on the FB page it seemed about 75% against posting the picture, while a small percentage supported the station's posting of the picture. I have no idea what the station's official stance is on this particular situation. My guess is that the station stands by the decision as the picture has not been removed. But the issue certainly brings up a strong debate on many different topics.
Just because a news organization has news or pictures, etc, of a situation…does that mean the organization is bound to show what it has? At some point in the near future my hope is that our news director, Tai Takahashi, gives his thoughts on this subject on his blog called "Out on a Limb". Tai has a very clear decision making process for issues like this. Personally I think he has good news judgment and a good sense of what is called for in circumstances like this. If he updates the blog with thoughts on the matter I will post the link here.
As to my opinion, which is limited and likely unqualified in this matter, the picture didn't bother me at all. There were no specific details in the picture. Someone could possibly see that one of the cars involved looked like someone's car that they know. But I thought posting the pic was okay. You do have to keep in mind that it was only on the Facebook page and going to that page is completely voluntary.
Some argued that it would hurt family members of the victim(s) if they had to find out about the accident by seeing it on a Facebook page. I don't think there is a good way for people to be notified of tragedy. And while I have never been notified in that same specific manner...I have found out bad news about people in my life while watching the news here at work. Whether it happens at work...on a Facebook page...or by the police coming to your front door...news like that always sucks, and I am not sure there is a good way to make the announcement.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Hit the feedback section below if you would like to sound off on this issue.
There is a man named Scott in Mattoon that is a very good friend of mine. Scott is a woodsy type of dude that grew up in southern Illinois. He is fairly close to full blown redneck…and I don't mean that as an insult. Scott has a big heart of gold and is the person that got me into firearms. He has taught me a lot about shooting. Scott is an avid hunter and for the past couple of years has kept my freezer full of deer meat. Although he knows I will likely never go hunting with him because I don't want to kill animals…we do go target shooting once in a while.
Scott is not very well liked at my place of employment right now. See…if you watched the news yesterday morning you may have seen me being obnoxious and annoying by using a "crow call" during our cross-talk with Mark and Stephanie. A "crow call" is like a duck caller only it is made to mimic crows. Scott is the person that let me borrow the crow call. While I never mentioned Scott's name…Mark and Steph are annoyed with the person that gave me the thing.
I told you all of that to tell you that when I came into work this morning someone had put a duck call on the weather desk! I have no idea from whence it came…but I love that someone thought enough of yesterday to actually leave one on the desk for me! Awesome…
The trial of Jerry Sandusky began yesterday…and the prosecution came out blazing with "Victim 4" and his very detailed testimony. This trial reminds me somewhat of the impeachment of President Clinton in that the details coming out kind of forces parents to discuss with their children what certain things are. "Soap games" is just one of the phrases already out there in this case and my guess is that it will get worse.
Of course we have to remember that everything is just "alleged" at this point. The man is now facing a group of his peers and is still innocent until he is proven guilty…assuming he is proven guilty. No matter what we think we in the public may know about this situation the decision comes down to what can be believed and proven in court. But HOLY COW if this guy did all of the stuff that he is accused of I am not sure if there is a good enough punishment for presumably ruining so many people's lives.
The trial will be interesting. And of course when the verdict is issued it may cause the networks to cut into regular programming. My hope is that the thing gets over with quickly and everyone involved can get on with their lives as peacefully as possible, unless of course there is a conviction and then one person shouldn't have such a peaceful life. But I digress. We aren't to the point of a verdict yet.
My hope is that you had a great weekend. Mine was pretty good. We got to see some friends we hadn't really seen for a bit. And there was also a nice amount of rest over this past weekend.
Did you happen to see us talking about a video through the morning last Friday during the morning news? Apparently there is some kind of a fan video contest going on for Justin Bieber. I am not sure if this Bieber kid is involved in the contest…but basically people have to make a short video based on one of the kid's songs. Well someone spoofed the video and made one based on how a "crazy girlfriend" would write a song. The video is simply hilarious. It is also mesmerizing. The girl that did the video does a very good job.
When we were talking about the video last week it had been seen by around 800,000 people on YouTube. This morning I just looked and the video has over 3.5 million hits now. This girl is becoming an internet star. If you haven't seen the video and want to see the video you can find it on my Facebook page. Just hit the link above here on the blog. I will warn you, though…it is addicting. The first time I watched it I had to rewatch it a few times…
This morning I am dragging! I need toothpicks for the eyeballs. No worries, though. Pretty soon the bright lights in the studio will be shining…my chipper co-workers will be down here…and all will be right with the world. Or I will just drink so much coffee in the next 10 minutes that it won't even matter if my co-workers are here or not.
From Jill (6/5/12):
I totally agree with you on the whole pot issue! There is a substantial amount of pot smokers out there, and most are going to smoke regardless of law. I wish they would come up with a contraption similar to a breathilizer so people wouldn't smoke and drive. If that was invented, I would 100% be on board with legalizing marijuana. Like you, I have indulged in the past but not anymore; but I do feel that there is a lot of tax dollars and time wasted on busting people for a small bit of weed. I feel as though the more constricting the States are about controlled substances- like not being able to drink till 21, is just making "deprived" people go crazy! Look at the problem of binge drinking at US colleges compared to countries where it is ok to have a glass of wine with dinner at the age of 12...they don't have these issues and their alcoholism rate is lower.
Maybe someday we will get to a point where people feel like they need to shove their own set of morals down other people's throats. I think that is why pot is illegal and prostitution is illegal, etc. These are fairly victimless "crimes". The only reason I can see that they are still illegal is become some people think they are morally wrong.
From David (6/6/12):
How nice to hear a "feel-good" story, on the news. I really like hearing about the young lady that helped a competitor finish the race, at the state finals. We need more young people like that. The world would be a better place.
I completely agree, David! I tried to get the story of what happened to allow the owner to get his dog back but no one got back to me on that one. But the important thing is that they found the dog.
That's it for this week! Short and sweet this time. The weekend will get a little warmer…but it isn't anything that will ruin plans, for the most part!
--Did I mention this week on the blog what we did Saturday morning? I think I remember saying something about working on a special project with Geno Reynolds and some friends of mine. Well it involved a gun range, many guns, and loud explosions. Geno has been putting something special together for a movie review and I am told it is completed! The review is on "The Reel Opinion" Facebook page and also on YouTube.
Here is the link to watch the review on YouTube. Give it a look.
--Could the weather get any better? If you liked yesterday and the day before then you should love today! Getting into the weekend will get a little warmer and a little more humid. But we still aren't talking about oppressive heat and humidity this weekend. Coming out of the weekend we have a good shot at some much needed rain. Monday afternoon through Tuesday we will hopefully get some storms. But it still doesn't look like we are in for a good drenching, sadly. What we really need right now is a strong, wet tropical system to push up from the gulf to make it rain several inches over the course of a week or so. That would just be getting us caught up. I'm really hoping we aren't in for a long, hot, dry summer.
--Yesterday we ran a story about a home burglary in Decatur where the criminal(s) stole the property owner's dog. Later in the morning I saw someone on Facebook had posted a picture of the dog with a link to the guy's Facebook page. So I saved the picture and posted it on my Facebook fan page, along with the link to the pet owner's FB page. Many of the people that follow my FB page shared the picture on their own pages. And of course many, many people commented on the picture with their well-wishes and stories, etc. So this morning when I woke up I checked the thread for updates…and to my amazement the guy that was robbed posted under the picture that the dog (Jax) had been returned home! I won't suggest that me posting the picture on my page had anything to do with finding the dog because there were hundreds, if not thousands, of people involved in the effort to find this little dude. But I did respond to the guy asking him if he wouldn't mind telling the story of how they found the dog. I think it might be an interesting tale! I will be sure to let you know if we find out what happened! Great news that they found the dog…
--Also yesterday…that Cody the Former Web Guy came through again on his way out the door! I received an email from him yesterday to let me know that the company that hosts our website has FINALLY updated their stuff to allow people that use Internet Explorer 9 to FINALLY be able to use their web producer products. That means I can once again blog from my computer at home. And of course that means I will be better able to keep the blog updated if I go on vacation, etc. I won't update this bad boy a lot while on vacation. But I like to check in once in a while here if anything really interesting happens while I am not working!
--Most of the time when I tell you something that I heard on "Coast to Coast AM" on my way to work in the morning it has to do with something that most people simply don't believe, like aliens that already live on our planet…or the Mayan End-of-the-World thing. But this morning there was a guy on there that was a medical scientist. He was talking about things like stem cell research and medicines of the future. The guy said that right now we are very close to solving issues like macular degeneration, which is one of the leading forms of blindness as we age. He also said that they just figured out how to produce human blood and platelets using stem cells. Think about that! They can now produce human blood. Apparently they are getting ready to mass produce type O-Negative…which is the universal donor type. The implications are fantastic.
--First thing you might notice about the blog this morning is that it has been "archived". If you look at the bottom of the blog you will see the archives going back to 2009. If you need help getting to sleep at night you might give them a look and you'll see what was going through my mind a few years ago. Anyhoo…the blog was archived. Yesterday I mentioned that Cody the Web Guy was leaving us. I thought he was already gone…but his last day is apparently today. So yesterday he archived the blog. Archiving just makes the blog look neater. I have blogged almost every morning I have been at work for the past three and a half years or so. That is a lot of blogs…and this page would take FOREVER to load if we didn't do the archives. So thanks to Cody for doing that!
I also bemoaned the fact yesterday that we didn't have anyone to replace Cody yet. Well just to let you know how far out of the loop I am around this place…apparently we also have Cody's replacement starting on Wednesday. I think her name is Marissa. So welcome to Marissa!
--I heard on the radio this morning that New York's governor is thinking about decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. Basically that means as long as you are not showing the dope in public or smoking it in public that you won't get arrested if you are found with a small amount on your person. The governor is considering this because police in New York are "wasting" thousands of hours a month busting people for small amounts of dope. Apparently the mayor and police chief in New York City both support the idea.
I've mentioned this here on the blog before that I think it is a great idea for the country. Even though our prison system is now big business…think how decriminalizing small amounts of weed would help the over-crowding situation. It should also stop small time pot smokers from becoming life-long criminals. From the stats…it doesn't appear as though most people sent to prison get "reformed". With the return rates being so high…it just seems like sending someone to prison just teaches them how to be bigger criminals. That's just my opinion, though.
I know many, many people that have smoked pot for a good part of their adult lives. People call it a "gateway drug", but I have never bought into that. Smoking pot doesn't make you want to do other drugs. But sometimes the people you meet while smoking pot will entice you to try other drugs. See the difference? It isn't the pot…it is the people. I've disclosed here that I am not a pot smoker…but I have had it in the past. I'm not interested in smoking pot in the future but I support the decriminalization and I support the medical use of pot. There are legal pharmaceuticals that are far worse for you than marijuana. The difference is that pot doesn't have a big enough lobby…yet.
And this is probably a good time to remind you that opinions expressed on this blog are just my opinions. I do not represent the views of the station here on this blog.
--Man what a great four day weekend I had. Thursday I did stuff around the house and chilled out quite a bit. Friday I played in a golf tournament in Mattoon to help raise money for some scholarships. I hadn't played golf since I played the same tournament three years prior. I'm not planning to really pick up the sticks on the regular…but it was fun to play on Friday with a pretty good group of guys. I used to play quite a bit but then just fell out of love with the game.
Saturday morning I went to Effingham with my buddy Scott, Larry the guy at work that shoots our commercials, Geno Reynolds of "The Reel Opinion" fame, and John Gleason the Master of all things guns/knives. You will have the chance to see the results of what we were doing soon. But let me just say that it involves "Max Payne", the gun range in Effingham, and lots of loud noises! I will keep you posted on the progress of the project…which should conclude soon!
Saturday night Faye and I went to Altamont to spend time with her family. One of her brothers has some land in that area. The place is fantastic. There's a pond and a waterfall built by Faye's nephew. It is beautiful and we took advantage of it Saturday night.
Yesterday I spent some much needed quality time with my Grandparents. They are 88 and 85, respectively. When I see them I realize that I don't see them enough.
--I was going to try to blog a little bit during my time off…but sadly the program we use for our web producer still isn't compatible with IE 9. There are things that I would like to say about that but I will keep it to myself. I'm not sure that situation will improve soon, either, as Cody the Web Guy has taken a job somewhere else and as far as I know we are still looking for his replacement.
That also means there is no one here now that knows how to archive the blog. So my guess is that this bad boy is going to get very long by the time we get someone new to come in and learn our system. And then I will have to convince that new person that it is worth his/her time to archive my little ole blog. So I apologize for what could be longer load times later in the month.
--There is a slight chance we may catch a storm or two today. We are so far behind in what we need for rain it is starting to get ridiculous. Unfortunately even if it does rain today it doesn't seem like we will get that much. The rest of the week is looking mostly sunny with temperatures around 80 degrees, give or take. I guess if it is going to be this dry at least it isn't going to be crazy hot!