Sunday Reads: The Dick That Keeps On Ticking and Auroras on UranusPosted: April 15, 2012
What a week…these last few days have been a whirlwind, so let’s get to your morning links.
Saturday saw many tornadoes throughout the center of the US, I hope that everyone is safe. Storm hits Iowa hospital; tornado warning issued for Wichita
The region had more than 80 preliminary tornado reports by 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday, according to CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras, though some of those reports could be of the same twister. Most were in rural areas and damage was reported to be relatively minor, including downed trees and power lines and minor flooding.
Across the south and central Plains, storm chasers broadcast images of funnel clouds roaring through rural landscapes. Residents in some high-risk areas received new warnings intended to grab their attention and prompt them to find safe shelter.
There are some amazing videos of some of yesterday’s tornadoes at the link.
From the title of today’s post I am sure you can guess which Dick it is that I speak of…Dick Cheney shows no sign of tiring in long Wyoming speech, 1st since heart transplant 3 weeks ago
Former Vice President Dick Cheney walked onstage without any assistance and spoke for an hour and 15 minutes without seeming to tire in his first public engagement since he underwent a heart transplant three weeks ago.
Well, that is one link I am sure no one will click to read. I just thought it made a funny title for today’s post. So now on to the links that will really be of interest.
The amount of laws being passed these days are unbelievable, Boston Boomer had a bit of a round-up last night of the ridiculous backward legislation in the works. So if you missed her post, please check it out.
We have been very vocal about our concerns regarding what direction this war on women is taking, so I wanted to share with you this very logical Op/ed from the San Antonio Express. Texas is getting ready for the outrageous funding cutbacks to the state’s Planned Parenthood. This de-funding will affect so many women who rely on Planned Parenthood for health services. Constitution backs Planned Parenthood
What if Texas told you that you can no longer be “affiliated” with someone doing something perfectly legal because the state objects to this certain something being done?
Say, this something is teaching evolution or the certainty that man is contributing to climate change?
What if Texas then told you that such “affiliation” allows it to bar you as a state contractor?
We would all believe the state to be, not just daft, but unconstitutionally so — violating both 1st and 14th amendments.
This is essentially what the state has done and what Planned Parenthood branches in the state are now calling it out on in a federal lawsuit that was as predictable as Texas wildflowers.
Last week, Planned Parenthood branches in Texas sued to prohibit the state from barring them from the Women’s Health Program because they are “affiliated” with abortion providers or advocates.
some of you reading this will surely be telling me that, because abortion is involved, this makes this analogy apples and orangutans. The argument will go something like this: Slavery and segregation were once legal. Did that make them right?
Good argument and still missing the point. If we had fought the Civil War against entities that were pretty much about making slavery non-existent, I’d say that was a pretty boneheaded and useless war.
Preventing the circumstances that result in abortions is pretty much what these Planned Parenthood branches are about.
None perform abortions. All provide women health services that prevent serious life-threatening illness and the unplanned pregnancies that are the primary source of abortions. They are separate — legally and financially — from those Planned Parenthood entities that do provide abortions or advocate that these continue to be rare but legal. And branches like these have been providing some 40 percent of WHP services.
I like the ending, because it expresses something that I think we all are feeling:
What Texas has done with its affiliate rule is to say, OK, we can’t prove you’re not separate, so, by fiat, we’ll simply say this doesn’t matter.
In other words, Texas gets to abridge these branches’ freedom to believe what they want to believe and to let these beliefs inform their associations. This, because the state doesn’t like the (perfectly legal) crowd they’re hanging out with.
Earlier, the federal government said Texas could not bar a provider from a Medicaid program such as the Women’s Health Program because it is affiliated with an organization that provides a legal medical service. And the feds said that the state could not force women not to have the health providers of their choosing.
The state’s response to the federal cut-off of funds was to move to make WHP completely a state program (forgoing a 9 to 1 federal/state dollar match).
That, however, doesn’t change the dynamics.
States’ rights do not include the license to abridge constitutional rights.
That’s what the courts will be deciding, and how they rule will either strengthen these freedoms or undermine them.
I am afraid too.
If it isn’t women being the focus of the right-wing Christian extremist…it is the gay community. I have another op/ed for you, this time from the British press. Joan Smith: I’m tired of Christian hectoring. Get over it!
Religious extremists tend not to have a great sense of humour. So I don’t imagine that the people who wanted to plaster anti-gay ads on the side of London buses were consciously trying to echo a well-known Monty Python sketch. But some of the phrases used in the campaign – “ex-gay” and “post-gay” – reminded me irresistibly of John Cleese ranting about his “ex-parrot”. This is what happens, I’m afraid, when humourless idiots try to be clever at someone else’s expense.
Indeed, I was sorry when the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, decided that Londoners wouldn’t be able to see these risible ads, due to appear on two-dozen buses in central London from tomorrow. Johnson is running for re-election next month and he was never going to risk alienating the capital’s gay vote by nodding through an undeniably offensive slogan. But he now faces a possible legal challenge from one of the Christian groups behind the ads.
They’re complaining about censorship and portraying themselves as victims, which is one of several reasons why I believe it was a mistake to pull the bus campaign. It’s almost always better to challenge bad ideas than to ban them, which runs the risk of appearing to suggest that they’re dangerous and radical. Secular and equality campaigners are wittier and more sophisticated than the anti-gay lobby; think of the fun we could all have had with post-this, that and the other jokes.
She is right about that, we all have seen what passes as comedy for the right-wing.
But there’s another reason why I believe the campaign should have been allowed to go ahead. Over the past few months, we’ve heard a great deal about “aggressive secularism” from Eric Pickles, Baroness Warsi and church leaders. What they’re complaining about isn’t aggressive – it’s the application of principles of equality that don’t give special privileges to believers. But aggressive Christianity is on the rise, and a nasty campaign against gay marriage is the latest attempt to halt advances in human rights that benefit women, homosexual people and secularists.
In that sense, the anti-gay ads have already performed a useful service, challenging the notion that the modern church is packed with sunny-tempered coves whose slogan is “live and let live”. The Christian groups associated with the campaign are homophobic and irrational; one of them, Anglican Mainstream, has supporters who compare homosexuality to alcoholism. Its website talks creepily about helping gay people to realise their “heterosexual potential”, and a letter calls for professional help for people who want to “resolve unwanted same-sex attractions”. Its signatories include Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Michael Nazir-Ali and Michael Scott-Joynt, former bishops of Rochester and Winchester respectively.
Twenty years ago, gay people were still trying to get rid of Section 28. Now there are civil partnerships and we’re moving towards gay marriage. The religious right is becoming more aggressive about equality and human rights issues – abortion as well as gay marriage – because it’s losing the arguments. I mean, who really thinks that “not gay” pride will catch on?
I don’t know, this op/ed ends with a hopeful question…but after seeing what we have been up against lately here in the US…I think “not gay pride” or “life begins at arousal” are arguments whose supporters seem determined to win, no matter what the cost.
I am going to move in a direction now, in entertainment news: Robin Gibb in a coma with pneumonia
The Bee Gees star Robin Gibb is in a coma after contracting pneumonia while being treated for cancer.
Gibb had surgery on his bowel 18 months ago for an unrelated condition, but a tumour was discovered and he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and, later, of the liver.
It had been thought his cancer was in remission as early as last month, but the latest deterioration in his health coincides with reports of a secondary tumour.
I never was one for the Bee Gees…but they certainly are connected to many memories of hot pants, hairy chest, disco lights, and polyester. So here is yet another op/ed, this time from David Randall: The Seventies, decade of glamour and grit
Dark beginnings. Haiphong, Phnom Penh, the Ibrox stadium disaster; Belfast; Watergate; and Idi Amin. And dark continuings, too….In the Seventies, if the wind was in the right direction, you could smell burning almost everywhere.
It was that kind of decade – bad things, and yet silly things. Hysteria never far away. Napalm and hot pants, terrorists and Oh! Calcutta!, Vietnam and Pot Noodles. Chopper bikes and Entebbe. A world still ruled almost exclusively by men. Selsdon Man, The Ascent of Man, The Wicker Man and The History Man. But along came bra burning, an Equal Pay Act (we’d all be earning the same by 1976, they said) and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch. And… 790 couples marrying in a mass Moonie wedding.
I remember that Moonie wedding, the pictures of all those brides and grooms in row upon row…do you?
Give that Randall post a read, wow…today’s links seem to be following an op/ed kind of train of thought…well, this next link is not so much an op/ed, but it does stand as a commentary on the recent racial controversy that has been in the media lately. (I am talking about the Trayvon Martin murder.)
This link is a bit old, but I bookmarked it because it seemed like such an emotional article that needed to be shared. Fitting Tribute
James Lewis died at night, after a football game. The Miami Northwestern Senior High Bulls had played the Booker T. Washington Tornadoes. In the parking lot outside Traz Powell Stadium, Lewis stood among a small crowd. A bullet fired from a pistol entered his body in what friends say was an assassination. Lewis was popular in school. He owned two cars. He made other people jealous, his family says. At age 17 his life looked good, too good for Liberty City, so he had to go.
The shooting occurred around midnight. When Studio X opened the next day at 10:30 a.m., Lewis’ girlfriend was waiting. In her fingers she clutched a photo of her boyfriend, also known as 3-J. She wanted to put him on a T-shirt. Studio X is a booth at Flea Market usa, located on Northwest 79th Street, in Liberty City, the heart of black Miami. Owner Chino Mizrachi has worked the flea market for the past 17 years. Some simply refer to his booth by what they go there for, “In Loving Memory Of” T-shirts. Mizrachi sells 500 In Loving Memory Of T-shirts a week, on average. More when someone popular dies, or if the week was particularly violent. He occasionally makes shirts memorializing, say, a grandmother who died of old age. But most shirts feature teenage boys, shot for various reasons, most often for no good reason at all.
Please…please, read this article from Mother Jones, and look at the images.
Death is a stable business in Liberty City. The murder rate across Miami-Dade County increased by nearly 40 percent last year, and more than twice as many kids under 18 were killed in 2006 than in the previous year. In November, a Miami-Dade Police Department gun buyback event netted more than 1,100 revolvers, shotguns, rifles, and semiautomatic firearms, in four hours. “It’s just deteriorating,” Mizrachi explains. “It’s just going from bad to worse. I don’t know where it’s going to stop. It used to be one guy a week and two guys a week, but nowadays you can find in one night, like, three or four guys can get killed and nobody cares.”
On one of the photos the captions states that Mizrachi makes around 500 Tribute shirts a week…another has an image of a young woman:
Mizrachi has known Tequila, 18, for years; she’s one of many teenagers, he says, who “knows someone who was killed–maybe four or five.”
A group of geographers and ecologists from three continents has taken an unprecedented look at Antarctica’s emperor penguins. Using very high resolution (VHR) images from satellites 450 kilometers above Earth, the team has come up with the first total population count for an entire species. With a whopping 595,000 penguins, they found nearly twice as many emperor penguins as did previous studies, and they counted 46 colonies, up from the earlier total of 38. Their results were published today in PLoS One.
“We were very surprised by the results,” says geographer Peter Fretwell of the British Antarctic Survey, one of the study’s authors.
Astronomers have caught the first views of auroras on the planet Uranus from a telescope near Earth, revealing tantalizing views of the tilted giant planet’s hard-to-catch light shows.
The Uranus aurora photos were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, marking the first time the icy blue planet’s light show has been seen by an observatory near Earth. Until now, the only views of auroras on Uranus were from the NASA Voyager probe that zipped by the planet in 1986.
Snapping the new photos was no easy feat: Hubble recorded auroras on the day side of Uranus only twice, both times in 2011, while the planet was 2.5 billion miles (4 billion kilometers) from Earth. The observation time had to be carefully timed with a passing solar storm to maximize Hubble’s chance of seeing auroras on the planet, researchers said.
Finally, today we have talked about the seventies…the seemingly backward dark ages of present day…now lets take a moment to pay tribute to the decade of the 80′s…particularly one cultural icon that, like Dick Cheney, seems to keep on ticking. I am talking about The Simpsons. Matt Groening Reveals the Location of the Real Springfield | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine
Twenty-five years after The Simpsons made their TV debut, the show’s creator talks about Homer’s odyssey—and his own.
It is a great interview, give it a read, it will make you smile…and here is a heads up about tonight’s episode:
UPDATE: According to Entertainment Weekly, “The Simpsons” will make a reference to Springfield’s origins in the opening credits of this Sunday’s episode. Stay tuned.
So, that is all I have for you this morning, what are you reading about today?