Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Senator Warren

This is Senator Elizabeth Warren's Tweet sent a few moments ago. Go on Twitter and share your thoughts. You'll reach a lot more people than on FB, Google+,Tumblr and Instagram-
"Ashamed & disgusted that the Senate works for the @NRA & not the majority of Americans who support basic solutions to stop gun violence."
Suggested tags when Tweeting  ‪#‎disarmhate‬ Sandy Hook Promise‪#‎gunsafety‬ Gabby Giffords @resp_solutions, ‪#‎voteoutRepublicans‬ copy your elected officials - they're all on Twitter. @SenatorCantwell, @PattyMurray, @WhiteHouse, @SenatorReid,@SpeakerRyan, @ChrisMurphyCT, @SenSanders,
Check out these rational sites http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org,


Saving Elephants

Thankfully something is being done!! 

Help us at www.letkidsbekids.org or look to organizations like Paul Allen's "Save the Elephants" per cent of the world's rhinos have been lost in the past 40 yearsBetween 2008 and 2013 up to 50,000 elephants per year were poached for their tusks1,000 wildlife rangers have also been killed in the last 10 years in AfricaThe illegal wildlife trade is worth between £6 billion and£13 billion per year. It is the fourth most lucrative global crime after drugs, human trafficking and arms dealingAround 50,000 pangolins are killed in Vietnam alone each year...'

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sue Snow

A friend of mine, Sue Snow, was killed by tainted Extra-Strength Excedrin. Rules were changed on over the counter drugs etc. I feel Sue would be horrified by our lack of gun safety...she was a cool lady--I miss her.
"If there was ever a woman with reason to live, it was Sue Snow. Although she had dropped out of high school after an early marriage, she had risen by virtue of hard work to an assistant vice-presidency at a branch of the Puget Sound National Bank, south of Seattle. At 40, she was the mother of two daughters, one grown, one a teenager, but she still had her cheerleader good looks. Twice divorced, she was newly remarried and so entranced with her husband, truck driver Paul Webking, 45, that they were rarely apart. "We were madly in love," he said later. 
On June 11, 1986, the love story ended abruptly. Rising at 6, Sue Snow took two Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules, as was her morning habit; she counted on the caffeine in it to give her a little lift. 
Fifteen minutes later, her daughter Hayley, then 15 years old, found Sue Snow sprawled unconscious on the bathroom floor. By noon she was dead. A few days later, the King County medical examiner announced that she had been poisoned; her Excedrin had been laced with cyanide. Snow's grieving family was bewildered. They knew of no one who might have wanted her dead, and they could imagine no motive for the crime. Nearly two years would pass before a suspect was brought to trial and her family realized that Snow had been precisely the victim the killer had sought: a perfect stranger. 
In September 1982, seven people in Chicago died within 18 hours of taking cyanide-contaminated Extra-Strength Tylenol. The crimes were never solved, and the country was left with a terrifying question: What sort of person was it who would play assassin in such a mindless, random fashion? Sue Snow's death, in the city of Auburn, Wash., suggested that a copycat killer seemed to be on the loose. Within a week a second victim had been identified. 
Yet this case would be different; for the first time, police would solve a product-tampering death. In December 1987, they made an arrest, and finally, two weeks ago, Stella Nickell, 44, of Auburn, was sentenced to 90 years in prison for the crime. Her story turned out not to be that of a madwoman but of a coldly calculating killer who knew what she was doing and why. 
Forty is a dangerous age, whether you live in a mansion or, as Stella Nickell did, in a trailer park. Old dreams are measured against reality. Reality, generally speaking, comes up flat. So it was, at any rate, for Stella Nickell. 
Here she was, said to be fond of bar-hopping and, judging by her courtroom attire, skintight dresses. She had married Bruce Nickell, a hard-drinking heavy-equipment operator, only to have him take stock and dry himself out. Here was Stella, dreaming of cash she didn't have. According to the prosecution, Stella figured that if she had the money, she could own the piece of property her trailer was sitting on and she could open a tropical fish store. She had always been partial to fish. 
Stella's life, up to that point, had not been the stuff of dreams. Born in a small town outside Portland, Ore., she had grown up poor, gotten married and had her first daughter, Cynthia, at 16. Later, in Southern California, there was another daughter, and some run-ins with the law. In 1968 she was convicted of fraud and in 1969 the felonious beating of Cynthia; in 1971 she was convicted of forgery. 
Now, 10 years into her second marriage, she was living in Washington State. Her life was more settled, but it was grim. Her elderly mother was living next door. Cynthia, who'd grown up to be a beautiful redhead, was divorced and temporarily raising her child in Stella's trailer. Money was always a problem. Bruce, 52, was out of work more often than not and, Cynthia reported, had been getting on Stella's nerves. For five years, Cynthia says, her mother had been talking about solving her problems by killing her husband. 
Cynthia testified that her mother set out to arrange an accident. She studied library books on poison and administered a dose of toxic seeds, either foxglove or hemlock, to Bruce. His only notable reaction was lethargy. Having attended a rehabilitation program with Bruce, where she learned that recovering alcoholics are susceptible to other addictive substances, Stella toyed with the idea of killing him with heroin, cocaine or speed, so that the death would look to police like just another accidental overdose. 
Then in the spring of 1986, according to Cynthia, Stella's thoughts turned to the Chicago Tylenol poisonings. They intrigued her, she told Cynthia. Why couldn't Bruce be done in like that? "I knew she was capable of it," a tearful Cynthia told the court. "But when it's your own mother, you don't want to believe she could." 
Stella's actions soon indicated that she could and would. In the fall of 1985, she took out $40,000 in insurance on Bruce's life, naming herself as sole beneficiary. Bruce also held a state employee's policy for $31,000, which promised an additional $105,000 in the event of accidental death. 
On June 5, Stella testified, Bruce Nickell came home from work. He kissed her, then, since he had a headache, went into the kitchen and reached for a bottle of Excedrin. Some capsules in the bottle were untainted, others contained more than three times the lethal adult dose of cyanide. Stella testified that she saw her husband swallow four pills. He watched TV for a while, then took a stroll on the patio. 
Suddenly, Bruce Nickell called out from the patio. 
"What do you want?" asked Stella. 
"I feel like I'm going to pass out." 
At that point Bruce collapsed, unable to speak. Stella Nickell called a paramedic, and her husband was helicoptered to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Stella declined to go to his bedside, testifying later that she was too upset. Bruce never regained consciousness, and within hours he was dead. The next day, when Stella told Cynthia her "daddy" was dead, she felt obliged to issue a disclaimer: "I know what you're thinking, and the answer is 'no.' " 
Stella hardly intended to fall under suspicion, but it was essential that Bruce's "accidental death" be established. The coroner's report must have been a major disappointment. Failing to detect the cyanide in Bruce's body, doctors concluded that he had died of pulmonary emphysema. Stella stood to collect $71,000 in insurance money, but that was $105,000 less than she had expected. As the prosecution saw it, she had no intention of settling cheap. 
There was only one way she could show that her husband had died as a result of an accident, the prosecution argued: Someone else—it didn't matter who—would have to die to alert King County authorities that a random cyanide killer had struck. 
At some point, Stella opened a number of containers of Extra-Strength Excedrin and Anacin-3, emptied some of the capsules and refilled them with cyanide. The results were not the work of an artist; seals on the containers were cut or missing, the boxes amateurishly reglued. Somehow, said the prosecution, Stella managed to slip the tainted packages onto the shelves of three stores. Sue Snow, who lived 12 miles away, bought one of those packages. 
Six days after Bruce Nickell's death, Paul Webking, Sue Snow's husband, got ready to go to work, grabbed two Extra-Strength Excedrin capsules for his arthritis and kissed his sleepy wife goodbye. "I always told her I loved her," he said later, "and she told me she loved me." When he saw her next, six hours later, she was on a respirator in the hospital, brain dead. By the luck of the draw, his Excedrin capsules had not been poisoned. 
The King County medical examiner announced three days later that Snow had died after taking tainted Excedrin capsules. Within a week, Stella stepped forward, hesitantly suggesting that her husband, who had also taken Excedrin shortly before becoming ill, might have been a victim of the same sort of poisoning. New tissue tests proved Stella right. Almost at once, nonprescription capsule medications were ordered removed from store shelves all over the county. Paul Webking filed a wrongful death suit against the Excedrin manufacturers, Bristol-Myers. Stella Nickell filed one too. 
As in most drug-tampering cases, the investigation was difficult, but Stella Nickell gradually became a strong suspect. Authorities found it especially curious that two of only five contaminated bottles of painkillers recovered in the area were found in her home. Detectives soon learned of the insurance policies on Bruce's life (Stella's claims have not been paid), and Stella failed a lie-detector test. Even so, the 85 FBI agents and police officers on the case did not have the evidence to bring Stella in. 
Then in January 1987 they got a break: Cynthia decided to talk. She said she was coming forward because it was "the right thing for me to do." Her mother's attorney suggested that Cynthia was inspired rather by a $300,000 reward offered by over-the-counter drug manufacturers, which she has yet to receive. 
In April, Stella Nickell went to trial in federal court in Seattle, where assistant U.S. attorney Joanne Maida described her as "an icy human being...without conscience." The most damning testimony came from Cynthia, 28, whose carefully made-up face was streaked with tears as she told her story. She said her mother "was very pleased that [Bruce had] stopped drinking, but she didn't like it that they didn't do anything anymore." 
In May a jury convicted Stella Nickell of causing death by product tampering; she was the first person brought to trial and the first convicted under a federal law enacted in 1983. On June 17, smiling broadly, she was brought before Judge William Dwyer for sentencing. Her lawyer asked for mercy, arguing for "a sentence that would allow some hope." But the judge, citing crimes "of exceptional callousness and cruelty," was of another mind, imposing the 90-year sentence, which makes her ineligible for parole until 2018, when she will be 74 years old. 
There was no response from the defendant. She managed a smile as she was taken away. The daughter she had abused in childhood—and then burdened with suspicion of her terrible crimes—was not present to see her depart. 
—By Joyce Wadler, with Meg Grant in Seattle

Thursday, June 16, 2016

No honey, I'm not leaving until...

"No honey, I'm not leaving until I finish "Beyond the Black Stump." Now, leave me alone!"

Available via:

Jack, Mick, Mahaney and Walking Bear are all enjoying a respite from the pressures of their careers when they are alerted to a possible strike on the Royal Family.
Mahaney's recent trip to Northern Ireland, to investigate a string of brutal bank robberies, has left him suspicious of the SAS and the motivations for the robberies.
A possible action against the Royals by the military has everyone running scared...
The same characters from #2 Molesworth Street, Under the Spider Tree, Slaughterhouse Creek & A Day Without Stars are back for another rousing adventure of ""Life in the Shadows."

Net proceeds support the Advocacy work of Let Kids Be Kids, Inc

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ice/Niven/Eclectic Theater

Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday,16,17,18 June Dan Niven will present his adaptation (Eclectic Theater, Capital Hill, Seattle @7;00 ) of the following two chapters from my book on people I know, have known, with HIV/AIDS. Its essentially a book about courage, faith and love. Following two excerpts are from Ice.
"David is somewhere in his late fifties. He works in a music store trying his best to stay current on the music of the day. He has told me that he has run out of interest in the ever-changing music craved by cash flush teenagers. He finds both very boring but he needs the job and the insurance so he dresses the part and talks the talk with his customers. He could, with a little makeup, look like her was a member of Kiss. Not as wrecked looking as Ozzy Osbourne or Keith Richards but well on the road to looking like a close relative.
David has shot or ingested so many drugs he can’t remember which were good and which were horrific. He’s shared more than one story with me on trying to force down drugs when he was so high he couldn’t differentiate between reality and the possibility that he was dreaming of taking drugs. I am pretty sure he still plays with meth every once in awhile. Not my role to judge or offer my thoughts unless I am asked. I most definitely haven’t been asked.
“I have no idea how I became positive. Before this shitty job I had been a bass player in, probably, a dozen bands over the years. None were great but we made a living. One of the bands had potential but we blew it partying on the road. We partied non-stop. God only knows how many women came and went on that rickety old bus. It was cool though! It had a huge fucking Condor painted on the side that looked down a valley that looked like it had the shit bombed out of it. We were called the “Black Wings.’ It was a name that worked it’s way through the acid one night when we were broken down outside of Tempe. I remember because I woke up flat on my back next to a cactus tree. A real skinny broad was glued to me. She stuck around until we ran out of money and dope. Probably a grandmother now baking cookies for the kiddies. Funny, I think of her once in awhile”
David is a crowd pleaser, particularly if we are speaking with high school or college students. I always ask him to be frugal with his language and he always promises he will. It never works out like that! I’ve only received one complaint about his non stop use of the word fuck and that was from a born again who took exception to David being in her school. She confronted him in the classroom about his language. I held my breath while I watched the wheels turning in his mind on how outrageous he was going to reply to her. The kids were all at their most attentive when he replied. “I’m sorry. It’s just that when you are afraid all the time you like to pretend like you’re not.”
Dead silence in the classroom followed by clapping and cheering.
“I don’t know whether I want to think I became infected through contact with a woman or from picking up a dirty needle. I guess I prefer the needle, as then I don’t have to think about a woman out there infecting others. Shit, I don’t know how many times we had people in a hotel room or on the road that were sharing our needles. Never thought much about it but I wasn’t thinking clearly most of the time. Safe sex was a joke. The heaps of flesh we waded through didn’t offer objections or suggestions so you did what you did and you moved on. Crazy, huh! To be so fucked up you can’t think about what you’re doing with or to others around you.”
David became positive about four years ago.
“I was feeling shitty. More than usual. I tried to cut down on the drugs by increasing my consumption of alcohol. (Laughing) Well, that didn’t seem to be working as every morning I was tossing my cookies even before I coughed down the first smoke of the day. After about a month or this I wandered into the health clinic down in the market. I didn’t fool them for a second as their first questions were about my drug and alcohol use. Hell, I think I was loaded when I went in the clinic. I filled out their questionnaire and let them prod me a few times taking my blood. One of the nurses told me she bet I was suffering from hepatitis. Would have been nice to have kept her guessing to herself but she was kinda cute and I didn’t want to push her off. The doc shot me full of vitamins and gave me the doc talk on how I was fucking up my life blah blah blah. Heard it before. Heard it from myself more than once. As soon as I could I left with a promise of checking back in a week to get the results of the blood work. I did. Positive. A bomb dropped on me by the cute nurse and a different doc. What I recall the most was that they said it wasn’t a death sentence and I could get support etc. I recall thinking about where to score some smack while they were telling me I would have a pretty happy life if I took charge of my life. Life. Fuck. It was over. Gimmee some happy drugs and set me adrift on Fantasy Island.”
If David shares how he became infected with an audience he is always humorous and self-effacing. He is ironic, according to himself. Not sure I understand that but I think I get a glimpse into what he’s thinking about himself. I get it the most when he talks about the loneliness that carpets him. He’s a nice guy trying his best.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Johnny (not his real name) completely sober. He is either high on drugs or alcohol. Sometimes it’s hard to be around him, particularly if he is shifting moods. Sometimes the swing from accepting to angry occurs in the blink of an eye.
On one visit to a school he went off on a high school kid who asked him how he became infected. As his rant was beginning to climb towards the stratosphere one of the other guests interrupted telling the kids he would be happy to share his story. John sat staring at the floor for the rest of our visit. As we were wrapping up he muttered an apology to the class.
I haven’t risked inviting him to speak since, though I do see him occasionally as part of a care team that he requested as support to his battle with HIV. He is mostly maintaining with NA and AA meetings though I don’t have a lot of confidence that he can continue much longer unless he kicks his care up a notch. We all know only he can do that…
I started to feel lousy after a day of skiing in the rain. I wrote it off as a cold and tried to ride it out at home for a couple of days. Jamey didn’t feel well either. She managed to go to work telling me to rest and get better. I got worse. When the coughing hurt so much I had to bend over to manage the pain I went to the doctor. I got a pretty thorough inspection with blood and urine taken. I was given some little sticks and a mailer so I could gather up some feces for analysis.
After waiting forever in a little waiting room I was told by the nurse that I had the flu with a touch of bronchial infection. I was given a couple of prescriptions and sent home with orders to stay in bed. The pills seemed to help. In two days I was moving around pretty well with only the occasional coughing spell.
I don’t remember if it was Thursday or Friday morning when the nurse called me. It was a Thursday. I remember I called work the day after seeing the doc. The nurse told me I needed to give some more blood as they wanted to run a couple of more tests. I went in after lunch.
I was taken into a waiting room where I sat for about a half an hour. Finally, in came a doc I hadn’t seen before trailed by a nurse and some guy who was introduced as a social worker. I didn’t get it right away. The doc had to tell me a couple of times that I had tested positive for HIV.
The nurse and social worker tried to explain to me some options but I bolted out heading to the nearest bar. I remember sitting there tossing down whiskey after whiskey wondering if I had it right or had they said something completely different. Did I have AIDS? Fuck, this couldn’t be…
I kept drinking but the booze didn’t do its usual magic. Nothing happened-I was as sober as when I walked in the joint. I thought about going back to the clinic but decided to head home instead and tell Jamey.
This all occurred about seven years ago.
When I got home Jamey was laying on the couch reading a magazine. I sat down on the end and blurted out what the doctor had told me. She sat up pulling in her legs as if to get as far away as possible from me. At first she didn’t say anything. Then she screamed at me wanting to know how it was possible that I was infected. We had been tested when we first got together, as the virus was sweeping through our community and neither of us had arrived without previous experiences. We didn’t go too deeply into them at the time as neither of us wanted to hang all our laundry out anymore than was comfortable. We tested negative promising never to risk the other no matter how our relationship developed. She had been cheated on before and was adamant she would never put up with it again. I promised I would never treat her like others had no matter what.
I thought about lying but I knew I couldn’t pull it off with her. I told her about the two times I had sex with other women since we’d been together. She didn’t say a word. After a few minutes she got up, went into the bedroom for a bit and then returned wearing her coat. All she said was that she may or may not be back. I cried, pleaded and begged but I could see she had flicked the master switch closing me off, possibly forever.
She didn’t return for six days. I didn’t see her. I only saw the note she left telling me she got tested and that she was negative. She told me that there are false positives and that I should be tested again. I went to the public health clinic and had them test me. In three days I was told I was negative. I went back to the first doc and demanded some explanation. What I heard was a lot of BS on how I would need to wait and get retested in six months as I had risky behavior too close to the test to ensure it was 100% accurate. They told me to be careful and not to do anything risky until I was tested yet again.
In the meantime I had called Jamey’s friends and all our mutual friends leaving messages with all of them asking her to call. More than a week went by before I heard from her. She wanted to meet at a restaurant up the block from our place. I was planning on begging for forgiveness if she would give me the opening to do so.
She was there before me waiting at a table facing the door. As soon as I saw the look in her eyes I knew we were finished. I no sooner sat down then she told me that she loved me but would not ever again be in a situation where she had to trust someone who had been unfaithful to her. She waved away the waitress angrily, telling me she was moving her stuff out on Saturday and would be grateful if I was not there. I couldn’t help myself and began to cry begging her forgiveness. She told me she forgave me and that I would have to find a way to forgive myself. She got up saying she was sorry about the whole thing. That was the last time I saw her in person.
For the next four years Johnny unraveled in a death spiral of drugs and alcohol. He told me he started shooting smack, meth and drinking non-stop. He ran with a biker crowd that offered him all the escape he could muster as long as he helped contribute to bringing in more drugs to consume and distribute. He took part time jobs, robbed and burgled homes to feed his growing habit. He did a ninety-day stint in the county jail for possession and public intoxication. The second time he was arrested and given six months they did an HIV screening. He came up positive. This time for real!
When he got out he was offered a months free rent from one of his friends who still had some faith in him. He learned Jamey had married and was expecting her first child. He got drunk. In his drunken state he jumped off his friends lanai in a wish to end it. He hit the little green strip running along the street side of the sidewalk breaking his back and his right leg.
When he got out of hospital he realized he couldn’t face the future by himself. During his ‘reckless’ years he alienated everybody in his family, as they were the first victims of his need to have money for drugs. He either borrowed or robbed their homes for whatever he could turn into drugs.
When he was diagnosed he had already burned every bridge with his family. Some even said they were “happy he was sick, as he was nothing but blight in their lives.” Other than a couple of ‘care teams’ and his buddies at NA and AA he is mostly alone. One counselor is trying to get him involved in coaching swimming at the YMCA. Hopefully he’ll find something to focus on other than his daily situation."


Great zoos, like the Woodland Park Zoo, educate, preserve, protect and invest in conservation projects all over the world. This one focuses on butterfly's in the NW.

Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. supports the conservation efforts of the Zoo.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Orlando Gun Massacre

Maybe, just maybe if the citizens of America saw the crime photos of the kids butchered at Sandy Hook,or the ones being filmed now in Orlando, we'd collectively temper the gun insane epidemic destroying the country-
We have to stop this-

Saturday, June 11, 2016


 Please, before you go to sleep tonight, think of ways you can reach out and help all the creatures out there-----humans as well.
Rhinos. Because the animals' horns are used in folk medicine for their supposed healing properties, rhinos have been hunted nearly to extinction. Their horns are sometimes sold as trophies or decorations, but more often they are ground up and used in traditional Chinese medicine. The powder is often added to food or brewed in a tea in the belief that the horns are a powerful aphrodisiac, a hangover cure and treatment for fever, rheumatism, gout and other disorders, according to the International Rhino Foundation. Rhinos have dropped from over 500,000 to 29,000 in a century. Please, please, please if you see a Rhino give it a hug, not a bullet.
Let Kids Be Kids advocates for the rights of all those in the animal kingdom. Yep, humans too-----And, in particular, all those Rhinos out there.


Seattle, and every major city, is dealing with the issue of homelessness. Here is one story that offers insight into the challenges of survival.

View from the Tent is the story of one man broken by an event in his life that leads him down the trail to homelessness. Its an unusual tale because it's told through an exchange of notes between the author and Atreus, a pseudonym chosen by the homeless man. These exchanges bring the reader into the story line and the changes that take place in his life, and at the various camps, where he hunkered down. 

“Observations from a homeless man living in various shelters in and around Seattle. These musings come from a man who was crushed by violence and loss. His reflections and stories will give hope to those people supporting others in similar situations,living in the outskirts of society. "I had no idea there were people like Atreus living on the street." "A great insight into those invisible in our society." 

Net proceeds supports the advocacy work of

Let Kids Be Kids, Inc.

Purchase of the book may be made through the following:
lulu http://tinyurl.com/hu3t5ye
iTunes http://tinyurl.com/jp4c7p7
B & N Nook http://tinyurl.com/jf7wrq5