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I took all these pictures from my door way, one from my porch! Scary stuff!
So, my wife and I have just been interviewed by the Santa Maria police department about our neighbor’s death. Cops are standing guard outside, so we feel safe. They are, however, looking through the yard for a murder weapon. They were asking about who was going in and out of his home lately, about his work, and about our relationship (which was virtually non-existent). They suspect he was killed Saturday night, so they wanted to know our whereabouts. All I could say was that we had gone to Solvang, went to Neverland Ranch, and then spent the evening with the in-laws before returning home in the evening. We had no time-table to give, unfortunately. But we did not recall hearing any loud noises. I told the investigator that I sleep like a rock, so I heard nothing. I also added that I wish I were more nosy, so that I could’ve been more helpful. I also clued them into the fact that he had an assistant, which they apparently didn’t know. I had no name unfortunately, but I directed them to our more nosy neighbor, who might know.
The news crews were standing in our yard, doing their report. They left a short while ago.
Here’s the latest news:
updated 15 minutes ago
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Reported by: Sarah Spotten
Police are investigating what they say is a homicide in Santa Maria.
The Santa Maria Police Department says officers responded to a residence in the 800 block of East Orange just before 5:00 p.m. Monday to a report of an unresponsive subject. When they arrived, they found a 55-year-old man, the resident of the home, lying on the floor. Police say he had suffered apparent trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say because of the suspicious nature of the man’s death and because of the nature of his injuries, they are investigating the incident as a homicide.
The man’s name has not yet been released.
Stay updated on this story and other news in your area on KSBY.com, and watch Action News at 5, 6 and 11.
Here’s another article online:
Police Investigate Body Found In Santa Maria
Posted: July 14, 2009 01:46 PM
Updated: July 14, 2009 06:33 PM
SANTA MARIA – Investigators have been collecting evidence at the apartment on the 800 block of East Orange St. where the suspected male victim was found dead early Monday evening.
Neighbors say they heard a gunshot early Monday morning.
Investigators collected drops of blood on the pavement outside the alleged victim’s apartment.
He was a handyman who turned his apartment into a workshop where he ran a sewing machine repair business.
Neighbors have seen people coming and going from the apartment, including a woman whom neighbors say was the alleged victim’s girlfriend.
SANTA MARIA POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESS RELEASE:
On July 13, 2009, at about 1653 hours, SMPD Officer responded to a report of an unresponsive subject found inside of his residence in the 800 block of E. Orange. The subject was located by a close friend, after numerous attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. Upon arrival, the Officers located a 55 year old white male lying on the floor with apparent trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel. Due to the suspicious nature of the death, investigative personnel were called in to assume investigative responsibility.
After review of the crime scene, coupled with the nature of injury, this incident has been classified as a Homicide. Investigators are actively interviewing known friends and associates. At this time, no further information is available for release. As new information becomes available, updates will be sent out.
The name of the victim is being withheld, pending next of kin notification.
Name of Victim: WITHHELD Age: 55
City of Residence: Santa Maria
Keep up with my blog for more news!
I am freaked!
My neighbor was killed early this morning! Apparently, he was shot in the head twice. Luckily, we were not home, so we were not around. Our neighborhood is pretty safe and quiet, so this was a huge shock. Our neighbor was kind of an ass, and I’m assuming this was an enemy of his, or some drug deal that went awry. Danielle and I were annoyed by his trashy yard and by the fact that he took all the storage units, but nobody deserves to be killed like this. There’s a news report online about it.
I’ll post again later with more details.
Here’s the online article:
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Reported by: Sarah Spotten
We are tracking a developing story in Santa Maria this afternoon.
The Santa Maria Police Department says it is working on a death investigation, after a body was found this morning in the 800 block of East Orange.
No additional information is being released at this time, but Action News will bring you the latest news on this story as it becomes available.
The King of torture, the Sultan of Secrets, Dick Cheney, is suddenly silent. He’s been as garrulous as a gaggle of geese since he left office, but he has yet to respond to a New York Times article that brings to light a secret counter-terrorism program– so secret that he ordered the CIA to keep it secret from Congress. The program is still classified, which has also kept former-CIA Director George Tenet from commenting, but the program’s existence came to light when Leon Panetta, the current Director, testified in late June before House intelligence committees. Leon Panetta stepped into the Pelosi-Waterboarding scandal when he denied that the CIA misleads members of Congress. He recently stood by that comment, saying that it was “not the policy of the CIA to mislead Congress.” It may not be the policy, but his revelation proves that it does indeed occur. He also added: “It is vital to keep the Congress fully and currently informed.” Panetta also testified that he ended the program when he first learned about it, which was on June 23.
This revelation follows a 38 page report from “inspectors general of the nation’s top intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the Justice Department,” which had been initiated by Congress. The report concludes that the secret warrantless-wiretapping program that was started within a few weeks after 9/11 was based on “factually flawed” legal interpretations from a single attorney at the Deprtment of Justice– John Yoo. Yoo is also responsible for the legal basis for the U.S.’s heinous torture program. The report quotes his superior, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, who describes Yoo as “the White House’s guy.” In a blast to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca8), the report found that she and other members of Congress had been briefed on the illegal program 17 times, and no one objected to the program. Tsk-tsk Pelosi. Where was your outrage then?
On July 9, the CIA reported that they were beginning an internal review of how they brief Congress on secret and classified programs and operations. Leon Panetta undertook this review in order “to take a look at what happened and to explore what the C.I.A. can do to improve its reporting to Congress.” This review comes amid Congressional squabbling over Pelosi’s assertion that the CIA mislead her and other members of Congress about their waterboarding program. The agency and Leon Panetta have insisted that they did not mislead her, or anyone else, essentially calling Pelosi a liar. However, the internal review suggests that Panetta is starting to back away from his earlier statements. Representative Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), in an interview with NPR, flat-out accussed the CIA of not providing Congress “full and complete information,” and, at times, of lying to members of Congress. Asked if the CIA violated the National Security Act, Reyes resoinded, “In my opinion, numerous times.”
The program was kept a secret for 8 years, per former-Vice President Dick Cheney’s orders, but now that its existence is known several lawmakers, including Reyes, are demanding an investigation. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Il), a House Intelligence subcommittee chairwoman, is one of those demanding an investigation. Her criticism did not extend to the current Director of the CIA, who, according to her, was “stunned” by the revelaton, which came five months into his tenure. He immediately shut down the program and the next day he informed Congress. Panetta, in Schakowsky’s opinion, is changing the agency for the better. Her criticism, instead, is directed at the Bush administration, who held Congress in “contempt” and behaved as though it was “an annoyance to them to have to come to us and answer our questions. There was an impatience and a contempt for the Congress.” In addition to the internal review, the revelations have also encourged members of Congress to push for a bill that would allow more members of Congress– rather than the “Gang of Eight“– to be included in CIA briefings about covert operations. President Obama has indicated that he will issue a veto if the bill is passed.
The report also includes some discussion about the role of Dick Cheney in the creation of the surveillance program, and the withholding of the program’s existence from Congress. A one point, as described on page 22 of the report, Dick Cheney suggested that President Bush reauthorize the program without legal consent from the Department of Justice. At the time, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized and was therefore incapable of signing the authorization. According to former FBI Director Rubert Mueller’s notes of the meeting, Mueller expressed his discomfort with the suggestion: “I could have a problem with that… [the FBI would] have to review legality of continued participation in the program.” When others expressed similar discomfort, according to the report, Cheney described the program as “critically important” and accused the acting Attorney General, James Comey, of risking “thousands” of lives. The report underscores the Vice President’s attempts to limit the number of people privy to the program’s existence, going so far as to require the personal approval of the Vice President’s legal advisor David Addington before disclosing the program to any individual. It also underscored his attempts to widen the scope of the program’s powers.
Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the House Intelligence Committee’s senior Republican, has portrayed Democrats’ outrage as political maneuvering. He criticized the Democrats’ recent letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta as “one of the most bizarre episodes in politics that I’ve seen in my time here in Washington.” It is not surprising that there is much opposition to the current talk– it was their President and Vice President who oversaw broad and secretive programs in order to spy on the American public. They would much rather focus their efforts on accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of crossing the line when she asserted that the CIA was lying about its waterboarding program. As events unfold, it becomes increasingly apparent that Pelosi was telling the truth.
One can only hope that Leon Panetta and the Obama administration will be more transparent and honest than their predecessors.
With world leaders meeting for the G8 Summit inL’Aquila, Italy, one uninvited leader is interjecting his thoughts: Pope Benedict XVI. In his third encyclical in four years, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the Pope makes the case for how the Catholic church’s social teachings can have a positive impact on the human condition. With the global economic crisis as a backdrop, Benedict criticizes our modern economic structure that lacks respect for workers and places emphasis on bsinesses that “are almost exclusively answerable to their investors, thereby limited in their social value.”
Pope Benedict, in his encyclical, advocates the creation of a “political authority” that “giv[es] direction to the process of economic globalization. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy.” In what might be construed as a liberal-oriented view on economics, Benedict explains that in a globalized world, that seems to be increasingly individualistic, a sense of inter-connectedness and community is lost. There is a concern for the needs of one’s self, while the needs of his brother are ignored or forgotten. For too long economics have been a tool of the strong against the weak, who “should remain at a fixed stage of development, and should be content to receive assistance from the philanthropy of developed peoples.” Instead, he argues, that globalization should be a process that is “community-oriented” and allows people to “transcend” their economic situation. In the end, it is up to all of us to stand for social jutice and to “steer the globalization of humanity in relational terms, in terms of communion and the sharing of goods.”
The thrust of Benedict’s encyclical is that humanity needs to fully experience love: “Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.” The most authentic form of love is charity, which “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6)( hence the title of the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth) because it originates in God. “Love is God’s greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.” Conservatives often dismiss charity and giving because they do not link it to “moral responsiblity,” instead they empasize a Reagan-esque supply-side economic model– the sort that precipitated our current economic melt-down. Benedict, in his critique, seems to support a wealth distribution model: “to love is to give, to offer what is ‘mine’ to the other… The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them.” To simply argue that wealth accumulation in the hands of the few (at their expense) would eventually benefit the poor masses ignores the fact that we all live in a global community, and as such we should be charitable with our neighbors. “The whole Church, in all her being and acting—when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity—is engaged in promoting integral human development.” We should remember Matthew 25:34-46:
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The Pope, in his encyclical, identifies four issues that must be addressed in order to promote integral human development: hunger, respect for life, religious freedom, and disciplinary collaboration.The most pressing is hunger. As many would argue, but others would dispute, access to food and water is a human right. Unfortunately, we live in a world where not everone has access to food and water. Hunger across our globe (even within our own borders) is still a major problem: everyday 963 million people go hungry every day throughout the world; 24,000 people die everyday from hunger, two-thirds of which are children; one in seven also suffer from malnutrition. With the wealth of all Western nations, who reap the benefits of globalization, why can hunger be ended?
The Pope’s encyclical is a call to action, as well as a rebuke to the modern concepts of selfish individualism. On friday, President Obama will meet with Pope Benedict in Vatican City. Though the two might clash over issues such as abortion, the two will likely find much common ground in combating world hunger. The two are set to discuss issues regarding human dignity.
It is too late tonight to finish the post on Iran as I had intended, but I do want to first share this video about a young woman named Neda, which means “voice” in Farsi. She and her professor were watching a protest on the streets of Tehran when she was shot in the chest by a sniper. The sniper was a member of the Basij militia, in an attempt to quell the protests. The protests were organized by supporters of reformist candidate Mir-Hussein Mousavi who alleged that the results of the recent Iranian elections were illegitimate, and that the election was rigged by President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Neda’s murder has become a martyr and her name has become a rallying cry for Iranians looking for freedom.
Below are the videos. The first is of Neda and her professor watching the protest, moments before she is shot. The second is of her being taken to the ground, where she dies of a gunshot wound to the chest.
Warning! This is seriously graphic:
President Obama has expressed his sadness over this tragedy, saying, “It’s heartbreaking, and I think that anybody who sees it knows that there’s something fundamentally unjust about that. I think that when a young woman gets shot on the street when she gets out of her car, that’s a problem.” Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary, has blasted the Iranian government for attempting to portray her murder as a fake. “I think the notion that the death of an innocent woman would be staged is – even with them, it’s shocking.” What prompted this comment was a statement from Iran’s police chief Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moghaddam, who claimed that the Neda murder was a “pre-arranged scenario.” President Ahmadinejad has initiated a probe into the murder, adding that foreign media outlets have managed a campaign of misinformation and “widespread propaganda” in an attempt to take down the Iranian government.
For those who demand that President Obama do more, I ask you to read my blog tomorrow. It is exactly the harsh statements, saber rattling, and covert interventions against Iran that have gotten us where we are today. Were President Obama to get more involved Ahmadinehad would have the ability to claim foreign intervention, words that go to the heart of every Iranian, and would only succeed in bolstering the Iranian government. I think President Obama has struck the right tone: condemn the violence and crackdowns, but ultimately leave change to the Iranian people. It will come, just as it came to our country. The more the Iranian government cracks down on the protesters, the more angry and resolved the people will become that they need to overthrow the current regime. It happened in 1979, and it will happen in 2009. But, again, I will talk about all of this in my next blog post.
Please visit my blog soon to see my blog on how the U.S. created the Iranian monster that we face, and how it will be up to the Iranian people to decide their own fate.
I have no health insurance. None. My employer does not provide it, because they’re cheap. I cannot afford to purchase it on my own because it is so expensive.
Several years ago, about 2003, I was involved in a semi-serious auto accident that landed me in the hospital. I was treated fairly well at Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, California, but it was certainly not worth the twelve-thousand dollar bill I received. I could not afford to pay the bill up front, so I arranged to make monthly payments. Being fresh out of high school and working a crappy part-time minimum wage job, it became clear that I could not even afford to make those payments. After several months, after my credit was completely ruined, I was able to secure a grant from Borders (my employer), who paid for the entire bill. Due to some clerical error, my credit was further ruined and I had to spend months proving that I had paid my hospital bill. It was a fucking nightmare, to be totally honest.
Even more recent than that, in early May 2008, I was bed-ridden with a tooth infection. I do not have health insurance, so I never had my wisdom teeth pulled. My bottom right wisdom started hurting me a few years ago, but I ignored it. The pain would come and go, and when it came I would take a lot of aspirin or rub orajel on the area. Well, needless to say, by early May the tooth had become infected and I fell gravely ill. Again, due to the lack of insurance, I stayed in bed, praying the pain and fever would go away. My fiancee (now wife) and her mother watched over me, not realizing that it was my tooth that was the culprit. When my fever reached 104 degrees, my future mother-in-law realized the severity of the situation. Danielle, my then-fiancee, pointed out my swollen throat and face, and knew that it was my tooth. I had complained about it before. They quickly got me up and dressed, and drove me to Marian Medical Center’s Emergency room. Mind you, this was around nine o’clock in the evening.
After waiting nearly three hours in the waiting room, I was finally taken into another room where I would wait another half-hour for the doctor. I saw the doctor for less than a minute, literally. He asked me to open my mouth (which could only open about 3 or four centimeters), flashed a light in my mouth, and then told me to see a dentist. He briskly turned around and left the room. A nurse came in and gave me two Vicodin, then directed us to the billing office. The whole sha-bang cost $800 dollars, hardly worth it. I am still trying to pay off that debt a year later.
The next morning, my future father-in-law took me to a dentist. I quickly sat in the chair and opened my mouth as much as I could. Within that moment, he realized that he could do nothing for my mouth. He called an oral surgeon and made an appointment for me, ASAP. Blessedly, he was a kind dentist who did not charge me a single cent for the visit. I saw him months later at a Red Robin and he was very interested in my recovery. He was concerned, however, that I could still not fully open my mouth. He recommended that I see him again, but I never took him up on that. Again, no health insurance.
At any rate, I was still in a state of intense fever. The Vicodin had long worn off and I was in a lot of pain. My memory of these few days is a bit fuzzy. I was taken then to an oral surgeon named Dr. Slaughter, how appropriate. I was ushered in quickly, but before he would touch me we had to pay the bill up front. I am rather impoverished, so my future father-in-law was kind enough to pay the bill, which was roughly $1,200 dollars. I was given an x-ray, then walked into a room, sat down, and was immediately put under…
I had the most horrific nightmare…
People were falling into a giant pit of flames, where the heat was so intense that their skin melted off their bones. I was amongst those people, set aflame, but still alive, screaming and crying all at the same time…
I heard my name being called from above, and a bright light was obscuring the scene. I awoke slowly and in tremendous pain. The nurses walked me to the office, where I was then given a prescription for Vicodin. Again, the Vicodin was really expensive, and I could not afford it, so my father-in-law to-be paid for it.
The days blurred together. I was riding the crazy wave of a pain fueled fever, which caused me to vomit quite a bit, and gave me the sweats, even though I was cold all over my body. I also could not eat anything without throwing it back up, even water. This was very troubling to those around me, especially Danielle. And when I vomited, I was also inadvertently removing the Vicodin from my body. I had no sustenance, no vitamins, not even very much water, for weeks. On top of that, my fever raged on. Danielle made sure that I had ice packs on my throat and on my chest, in an attempt to bring down my body temperature, which remained above 100 for about two weeks. I wanted to die.
By the middle of week three, my temperature had come down a bit, and I was able to drink liquids, but nothing solid. Even if I had wanted to, my mouth could not open wide enough to eat anything. I could not even talk, due to my swollen throat and jaw. I had lost a lot of weight, unfortunately, as well. I was also really weak, still bed ridden. By week four, I was still feeling ill, in pain, could not open my mouth, but I was able to sit in the living room and watch t.v. I had no news for so long!!!! I had also missed a lot of work, which cost me a lot of money as well. I used my time to think about the wedding, which was in July, and I spent a lot of time reading. By this time, my Vicodin had run out, and I was having to take a lot of aspirin. It was by the end of week four that I started spitting out disgusting blood and puss that began to seep from my surgical wounds. As I continued to ice it, the swelling came down. By the end of week five, I was relatively ready for work. My jaw was still not able to open all the way, but I was able to stand up and talk, somewhat. My fever was gone and I was relatively healthy. Either way, I had missed too much work and needed to go back. By this time, I had a minor beard going on and I looked more pale and thin than I had ever been in my life. People at work had no idea what had happened to me, and they were shocked by my appearance. I was also unable to talk clearly, due to my jaw still being a bit swollen. It would take weeks before I could open my mouth all the way and eat real food. My weight and strength came back with time.
Thus is the state of the U.S.’s health care industry.
If I had adequate health care coverage, my credit would not have been ruined, taking me more than five years to recover. If I had adequate health care coverage, I could have had my wisdom teeth pulled, or had my tooth looked at before it had gotten infected. I have not had a physical in probably a decade, God only knows what else is wrong with me. I am not the only one. Millions of people suffer as I do. To be exact, in 2008 the figure was 46 million. 62% of bankruptcy claims in 2007 were directly related to health care costs, even though “77.9 percent of those bankrupted by medical problems had health insurance at the start of the bankrupting illness, including 60 percent who had private coverage.” The figures are staggering, and I have not the patience to cite them all… maybe just a few…
* In 2008, health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion, and was projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012. Health care spending is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2016.
* Health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.
* In 2008, the United States will spend 17 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 20 percent by 2017.
* Although nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.
* Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Impact of Rising Health Care Costs
* National surveys show that the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage.
* Economists have found that rising health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage.
* Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.
* A new survey shows that more than 25 percent said that housing problems resulted from medical debt, including the inability to make rent or mortgage payments and the development of bad credit ratings.
* About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs.
* A survey of Iowa consumers found that in order to cope with rising health insurance costs, 86 percent said they had cut back on how much they could save, and 44 percent said that they have cut back on food and heating expenses.
* Retiring elderly couples will need $250,000 in savings just to pay for the most basic medical coverage. Many experts believe that this figure is conservative and that $300,000 may be a more realistic number.
* According to a recent report, the United States has $480 billion in excess spending each year in comparison to Western European nations that have universal health insurance coverage. The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care.
* The United States spends six times more per capita on the administration of the health care system than its peer Western European nations.
Well, maybe that was a bit more than a few, but it is still staggering. That is why our country seriously needs health care reform. Republican’s shot down the Clinton’s attempt in 1993, and since then our health care crisis has worsened dramatically. Health care coverage is a basic human right, but Republican’s are so interested in keeping the status quo and in allowing the heath care companies to dominate the market for their own profit, and at the expense of the American people and their health. Martin Luther King once remarked that “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane.” He was absolutely right.
There is a health care bill going through Congress now, known as HR 676. I urge everyone to call their representative and demand action; demand that they support your right to health care coverage.
Or find their e-mail at: www.votesmart.org
HR 676 will provide everyone automatic coverage for life for every American, and it will cover dental, vision, and prescription drugs. And despite Republican claims, you will be able to choose your own doctor and hospital. It will also have the added bonus of creating new jobs reducing health care costs for businesses. In having everyone covered, prices will drop, and CEO’s and faceless corporations will not have the ability to control your health care. We will have our health care in our own hands. Time and time again, Republicans claim government bureaucrats will control your health care, and they paint that as a negative consequence. I think that is a false choice: either have the government in control of health care, or have no coverage at all. I think most Americans would rather have coverage. Not only that, but I trust the government to handle heath care far more than I trust a greedy CEO, or a money grubbing board of directors, or anyone else looking to make a buck on my misfortune.
Now is our time. Now is our moment to take health care coverage out of the hands of the selfish few and share it with all Americans who are so desperate for care.