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Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

Digging Through Saddlebags

Digging Through Saddlebags

Yeah, it may well happen if you come across a motorcycle-only checkpoint.

I’ve written previously about how motorcycle safety outweighs individual liberty as state and local governments have begun to implement motorcycle-only checkpoints that unfairly target motorcyclists for inspection by law enforcement officers.

Specifically it’s called the “Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration Grant” (DTNH22-10-R-00386) and the motorcycle-only checkpoints are funded by grants given out by the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  That’s correct.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is offering federal funds to expand the practice of creating motorcycle-only checkpoints by law enforcement agencies.

Initially started in New York State, the process involves setting-up checkpoints where only motorcycles are pulled over. Law enforcement officers will check for U.S. DOT-compliant helmets, legal exhaust systems, and compliance with licensing, registration and inspection regulations.  And they may decide to dig through your saddlebags!

What can you do?

Petition-PhotoSign this petition which calls for the cessation of the NHTSA’s direct and indirect funding of the motorcycle-only checkpoints through its grants and other measures, and asks that the laws for vehicle conformity and passenger safety be applied equally to motorcycles and automobiles alike.

Why This Petition Site?  The White House’s “We the People” website is the only one that sends a message directly to the president.  Once 25,000 signatures are reach, the petition is put in front of President Barack Obama, where he has to officially respond to the petition, which could include directing the NHTSA from funding motorcycle-only checkpoints.

I Live In A State With-Out Motorcycle-Only Check Points, Why Should I Bother To Sign?  Because there are a large number of motorcyclists in the U.S., yet overall our passion is shared by only a small portion of the population. This makes it relatively easy for laws, and those who enforce those laws, to target motorcyclists unfairly.  The motorcycling community needs to come together, regardless of how this one issue affects you, in order to ensure that the basic rights of motorcyclists everywhere are assured.

This Won’t Change Anything, So I’m Not Going To Waste My Time.  You might be right, but putting the issue in front of The President of the U.S. might do something, and if nothing else, it shows that the motorcycle-riding community is an active participant in what occurs in Washington D.C. and in the local legislatures. Doing nothing truly means that nothing will change.

Crap, I Have To Register To Sign This.  Are You Kidding Me?  The White House’s “We the People” website is the only site that sends a message directly to the president, and if there are enough signatures, the president has to formally respond to the petition.

I Don’t Want The Government To Have My Email Address.  Ahh… right, like they don’t already know where you live…

Please take the time and consider signing the petition.

Photos courtesy of Baggers Magazine and The White House “We The People” website.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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President Barack Obama has been re-elected for 4 more years and we remain a collection of polarized red and blue states.

The first instinct of some will be to blame the voters — to say they just don’t “get” it — or to imply the “takers” simply outnumber the “makers.”

To my way of thinking, Americans should have been outraged by what happened in Benghazi. Or outraged by the increasing debt — or by the fact that the unemployment rate actually rose during Obama’s first term.  But it’s the job of the political spin “machine” and party movements to persuade Americans to buy into their “reality distortion field” — vision.  And clearly they aren’t buying what Republicans are selling.

So while most will focus today on Obama’s reelection victory and mandate this or mandate that, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and their families.

I’ll admit it — Mitt wasn’t my guy in the primaries.  But when he got the nomination, I put a few of my differences aside to join him in supporting the many other things we have in common from a business background.  As the campaign went on, he grew on me — especially after he chose Ryan to help confront some serious spending issues.   They ran a good and dignified campaign.  Many of you may disagree, but I felt President Obama lowered himself and the office of the president with mudslinging class warfare and immature name-calling.  It’s debatable, but I felt Romney kept his eye on the bigger picture.

At the end of the day, I respect Mitt Romney.  As one of the 48%, the loss is a disappointment, but I’m proud to have been represented in this election by a man who carried himself with dignity, even when he faced vicious & narrow-minded attacks on his personal character, his work ethics and his faith.

As he stated in his gracious concession speech, that he “left everything on the field” and for that, I wanted to provide him a sincere shout out.

To Mr. Obama: The campaigning and election are over. It’s time for governing and making things happen.  Please do it!

Full disclosure:  I have a major distrust of government that wants to manage every aspect of my life.  I believe in balanced budgets and that private enterprise creates wealth, but I also know that some of Wall Street bankers and corporate executives are so overpaid you’d think they solved world peace and don’t get a pass.

Photo courtesy of Scripps Media.

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At Willamette National Cemetery

I remember watching the Vietnam War as a kid and seeing shooting and blood and bodies—and people were serious.  Very serious!

Then years later on the first night of Desert Storm in 1991, while watching CNN the contrast was stunning.  I remember thinking, are they reporting on a war, or are they trying to sell me on it?  These days the media is problematic as they would rather be first than be right!  Endless commentary without much reporting.  I’ve always thought that people should get information to make themselves smarter, not just to make themselves feel good and reinforce their viewpoints, but I’ve digressed.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day which commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.  It is set aside so that we might reflect on the honor and sacrifice of those who courageously gave their lives to safeguard us and our way of life. Freedom surrounds each of us everyday—as we openly speak our minds, ride motorcycles freely in any city, where worship is feely exercised and where ballots are freely cast to change who will govern this great county.

It is a great county, and let’s take a few minutes today to remind ourselves of the consequences of war and remember the families of our Fallen.

Photo taken by author at Willamette National Cemetery.

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Mike Zupan (left) and John Zupan (right)

I was on a Southwest flight heading to Sacramento last week reading the in-flight magazine.

There was an article called “Bourbon Barrels” which stated that in Kentucky the number of Bourbon-aging barrels outnumber the state’s residents by more than 360,000.  There are 4.7M aging barrels in use among the commercial distillers.  And that in recent years, the popularity of premium small-batch and single barrel products has skyrocketed to the point where the bourbon industry in Kentucky is in its biggest expansion phase since Prohibition.

While reading this it reminded me of an online article I had read earlier in the week where company executives for Brown-Forman (Jack Daniels) stated that they’ve seen improvements in liquor consumption at U.S. bars and restaurants.  The so-called “out-on-the-town” drinking, a key segment for the spirits companies, had been hurt in recent years by the economy, but with renewed brand development and wider distribution, Brown-Forman stated they are seeing improved net sales growth.

Northeast Marine Drive -Portland, OR.

It was a quick flight, but I had time to read all two-pages of the Oregonian Business section to learn that John Zupan, 66, died.

John who?

John was like many of you who read this blog.  A person who enjoyed classic cars and motorcycles.  He also was the founder of Zupan’s Markets which makes him a grocery store pioneer.  According to my sources he had recently purchased a 2009 BMW motorcycle and was riding it on Northeast Marine Drive when his motorcycle was hit head-on by a motorist.  According to Portland Police reports the car was driven by Edy Porfirio Reynoso-Ramirez, age 32.  Reynoso-Ramirez was driving a 1998 Honda Civic and was speeding in the eastbound lane of Northeast Marine Drive, driving erratically and passing other vehicles.  After the accident Reynoso-Ramirez fled the scene and tracking dogs were used to locate him hiding in an industrial area.  Reynoso-Ramirez was booked into Multnomah County jail with allegations of assault in the second degree, failure to perform the duties of a driver, DUII and reckless driving.  In addition, U.S. Immigration and Customs placed a hold on him.

Edy Porfirio Reynoso-Ramirez (L)

This is a very sad story.  One that occurs to often (drunk drivers (some being undocumented)) and is not easy to get use too.

For some topics, particularly on public health and immigration, summaries are dangerous because they can create the idea that a single or simple solution exists when it’s always more complex.  However, for those who say that the status of the driver is irrelevant, I beg to differ.  If Reynoso-Ramirez were not here illegally, Mr. Zupan might well still be with us.  In Oregon like most all other states acceptable PROOF of residence is a requirement for a drivers license.  It’s unclear if Reynoso-Ramirez has ever been checked to see if he even knows how to drive or if he can even read the road signs? Lastly, by the nature of his illegal status, there is an implied disregard of U.S. laws so, why not drink and drive?  It’s a third world corrupt behavior and one that is problematic.

I’m sure there is a lot of blame to pass around for this accident.  The DMV is at fault for lax documentation measures.  The spirits industry for its continual drive of seeing improved sales or the retail outlet for selling the spirits.  It’s the governments fault because they are lax on immigration.  Geez, even President Barack Obama’s family is embroiled in a similar matter.  His uncle, Onyango Obama, an illegal immigrant was charged with drunken driving in Framingham, MA.  He was ordered by an immigration judge back in 1992 to leave the country, but for some reason just hasn’t gotten around to it. Onyango, who’s from Kenya, is the half brother of the president’s late father and has pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol and is being held on an immigration detainer.

Sadly, drunk drivers come in all shapes, sizes and citizenship status’.

I anticipate that this accident will be placed on the back burner by the Oregon media or law makers as to avoid having any debate over illegal immigration and any associated issues.  What’s worse is that many people out there – especially insurance companies- consider motorcycle accidents, even when the motorcycle rider is NOT at fault, the “cost of doing business” and that motorcycle riders have essentially assumed the risk of getting hurt.   Many non-motorcycle riding members of the pubic, in fact, assume that anyone who rides a motorcycle is asking for trouble and if they do get hurt, well then that is the riders fault even if the rider did nothing improper.

Unfortunately the real issue (drunk and reckless driving) will get buried in the media as questions about who will or will not participate in the Ducks next football practice take center stage…

My sincere condolences to the Zupan family.

Photos courtesy of Zupan.com and Fox 12 News

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Spc. Eric Richardson Beaverton, Ore., left, who was wounded in Kandahar, Afghanistan, bows his head in prayer before President Barack Obama addressed military personnel who recently returned from Afghanistan, Friday, May 6, 2011, at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Monday is Memorial Day and it’s a special holiday in America because it commemorates U.S. men and women who died during their military service.

You might be to young to recall, but in 1968, with new bodies returning from a deeply unpopular war, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Act, moving Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and Washington’s Birthday to Mondays, to allow for convenient three-day weekends. The loss of focus on this once-somber day had become institutionalized. The change in the holiday was contemporaneous with a larger change in attitude among many Americans toward their government, its wars and those sent to fight them.

Young men such as my father or my cousin Mike sat in Vietnam and read letters implying they were pawns in an immoral game, with nefarious intent to terrify kids in a jungle thousands of miles from home. Their dead were not to be honored upon their return, but rather shunned as emblems of a country in crisis… as people celebrated the beginning of summer rather than Memorial Day, one could debate that a generation grew up not understanding what the day’s name really meant.

My cousin was “KIA”, and recently a good buddy of mine had a family member, Spc. Eric Richardson from Beaverton, OR. , who fought in Afghanistan come home wounded, but alive.  He was shot in both legs in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Earlier this month at Fort Campbell, KY., he was selected to sit in the front line as one of the most recently wounded veterans when President Barack Obama addressed military personnel who  returned from Afghanistan.  He could barely stand and almost passed out from pain before he was finally able to sit down.  It was a proud moment for his family.

Sure, we’re all looking forward to an enjoyable Memorial Day barbecue and get-together, but regardless of one’s politics, independent of class, race or religion, there should be a basic acknowledgement and respect for those who have given their lives protecting an ideal.  I’m grateful for all those who currently serve, have served, and those who have lost their lives defending our freedom.

I hope that amidst the fun and sun rain, we might all perform some simple act of respect and honor all our brave service members.

Photo courtesy of (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak).

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