Let’s just post these things cause I am still sick as shit.
From the one and only Luckovich:
That last one just might not be far off the mark.
The rest of these are Cagle:
And last before we go:
This is an open thread.
Small worlds, it is amazing, last week my son had a friend who spent some time in New Orleans…and he came back with tales of “real live drag queens” on Bourbon Street. What do you know…the friend was talking about Dak and her new gig, playing piano for the ladies at Lucky Pierre’s.
What are the chances of that? From Banjoville to Nola…to Bourbon Street to Lucky Pierre’s.
Alright, the links for today are few since I am still very sick with this yuk of a sinus infection. (Thanks to BB for doing my post yesterday.)
Investigators retrieved audio from the cockpit voice recorder in theGermanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, but rather than explaining why the plane fell out of the sky, killing all 150 people on board, the recording revealed a shocking twist. A senior military official investigating the crash told the New York Times that one pilot is heard leaving the cockpit, then there’s increasingly frantic banging on the door as the Airbus A320 inexplicably begins to descend. Within 10 minutes, the plane dropped from an altitude of 38,000 feet to about 6,000 and crashed into the mountainside – all while one pilot was apparently locked out and the other gave no response. “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.” He added, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”
What makes the report even more bizarre is that there’s no indication of any friction between the pilots up to that point. The investigator said their conversation had been “very smooth, very cool,” throughout the flight. It’s unclear why one pilot left the cockpit, but “what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door,” the official said.
Remi Jouty, spokesman for the French air crash investigations bureau BEA, would only say that they are still analyzing the recording. “It is too early to draw conclusions to what happened,” he said. “There is going to be detailed work performed on that audio file to understand and interpret the sounds and the voices that can be heard.” Debris from the crash was spread across an area of about 5 acres, on a remote mountain range 2,000 meters high.
That is strange, don’t you think?
Some speculation at that Boston Herald link.
With the support of nine mostly Arab countries, Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign in neighboring Yemen on Thursday, where for months Houthi rebels have intensified their violent campaign against the government.
The Houthis, ever defiant, responded by saying they will meet force with force.
Yemen, a longtime stronghold for one of al Qaeda’s most dangerous branches, has been plunged into chaos since the Houthi rebels began seizing control of the capital and other areas of the country in recent months.
For years, Yemen had allowed U.S. drones and special operations forces to stalk AQAP in the country. But the unrest led to the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from Yemen, leaving that arrangement in tatters, along with any semblance of peace in the Middle Eastern nation.
Now for some links to other stories.
“Cosby” is now a “thing,” in that things can get Fukushima’d up.
Think of this as an open thread.
Yesterday, Boston Boomer posted pictures of baby animals, in honor of spring. Today I post pictures (vintage ones) of Brides and Grooms, in honor of Dakinikat’s youngest…who got engaged last night.
So to E. and her Man:
Congrats girl, we wish you both the best of everything!
Now for the linkage, in basic dump form because I am moving so damn slow this morning, we’ll be celebrating the harvest before this thread gets posted.
For starters, a few choice headlines. I am not linking to them because I don’t want to deal with the trolls.
Israel: Beware of Obama By Michael Goodwin | New York Post
Ted Cruz to announce presidential bid Monday
Hey, Gays: Leave Aaron Schock Alone – The Daily Beast
The Dangerous Chaos of Barack Obama
By Larry Johnson
LOYAL TO LIBERTY- Glenn Beck leaves the GOP
That is some frightening stuff.
An Elk City mayoral candidate is now in some hot water after several YouTube videos were shared around town. In the videos, Bill Helton, an Elk City commissioner and mayoral candidate, is seen dressing up as a black woman called “Pollyester Kotton.”
“The character came about from one of my clients, who was African-American, from Texas,” Helton said. He also pointed out that she helped him transform into his alter ego, who he dresses up as mostly when emceeing charity events.
The state of Georgia is getting $15 million in federal money to try to reduce the number of able-bodied Georgians who are drawing food stamps every month.
About 200,000 Georgians fit into the target category: healthy adults with no dependents and on food stamps.
The requirement to work or go to a school was eased during the recent recession, but the requirement is back.
That should be more than enough links to get you going this morning.
Have a great day and enjoy the rest of the post:
Wedding pictures found on…Pinterest
Other fun pictures here:
Slide show of additional images at bottom of the thread.
Lets end this post with the full Abba song, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do:
Can you believe this song is 40 years old this year?
“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”
Love me or leave me, make your choice but believe me
I love you
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
I can’t conceal it, don’t you see, can’t you feel it?
Don’t you too?
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
Oh, I’ve been dreaming through my lonely past
Now I just made it, I found you at last
So come on, now let’s try it, I love you, can’t deny it
‘Cos it’s true
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
Oh, no hard feelings between you and me
If we can’t make it, but just wait and see
So come on, now let’s try it, I love you, can’t deny it
‘Cos it’s true
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
So love me or leave me, make your choice but believe me
I love you
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
I can’t conceal it, don’t you see, can’t you feel it?
Don’t you too?
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
I don’t know, it has been a rough week in my family. Three deaths…very sad.
So when I tried to find some funny comics for tonight’s post, there was just not much in the way of choice cartoons to link and share with y’all.
Anyway, the limited selection for tonight:
This is an open thread.
Well hello again, Minkoff Minx here with y’all this fine day before the first day of Spring.
Boston Boomer is having some major computer issues, in fact…it may be a little while before she is back online. This unfortunately means you will be stuck with me today, and Saturday, and Sunday. Holy Shit!
So in the hopes of bringing everyone out of the winter blues, I am posting pictures of summer fun pictures. Most of these are vintage shots dealing with memorable times near water.
There’s a few links as well, we will just work this post as an open thread.
With the re-election of BiBi, the shit has once again hit the fan…and boy it is spreading big time:
The day before Israel’s election, with polls showing he could lose, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the Palestinians would never have their own state on his watch.
It was a sweeping statement that flew in the face of his own past commitments and 25 years of international efforts to arrive at a two-state solution to the conflict: Israel and an independent Palestine living side-by-side.
The reaction from the rest of the world was rapid and predictably outraged.
France and Germany called on the new government to stick to the two-state goal and the European Union counseled calm at a “crucial moment”. The United Nations said the only way for Israel to remain democratic was to stick to the peace process, which sees two states as the final objective.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest reaffirmed President Barack Obama’s commitment to the two-state solution and said based on Netanyahu’s comments, the United States “will evaluate our approach to this situation moving forward”.
The question is whether Netanyahu – who shifted sharply to the right in the last days of his campaign, using messages such as the ‘no-state’ pledge to successfully draw right-wing votes away from ultranationalist parties – really meant what he said. And if so, what it means for the Palestinians, international relations with Israel and the future of the peace process.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahuwon a big election Tuesday, but he won ugly by staking out a new position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is likely to harm his nation in the months ahead.
A reckoning is coming—faster than expected—for Netanyahu, his Likud Party and maybe even for the State of Israel itself.
Complete returns showed that Netanyahu’s Likud Party won 29 seats in the Knesset to 24 seats for the Zionist Union (formerly Labor) Party headed by Isaac Herzog, who ran a more spirited campaign than expected but almost certainly fell short of the support necessary to form a government.
Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, whose job consists mostly of presiding over elections, said not long after the polls closed that he wants a coalition government and has given Netanyahu, Herzog and the other party leaders a couple of days to engage in a frenzy of (largely unconsummated) deal-making. But Herzog’s parliamentary math problem got worse as the evening wore on, and it’s hard to see where he finds the “mandates” (seats) to prevail.
Meanwhile back here in the states:
The violent arrest of a black University of Virginia student by white police officers sparked a state investigation after a photo of the man being held down as blood streamed down his face went viral. Junior Martese Johnson, 20, was arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents at about 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning after he was turned away from an Irish pub just off campus. It’s unclear what led to the arrest, but his head was reportedly slammed into the pavement. A partial video of the arrest obtained by The Cavalier Daily, UVA’s student newspaper, shows officers holding Johnson face-down on the ground as an onlooker shouts that his head is bleeding. As he’s being handcuffed, Johnson says he goes to UVA and yells at the officers. “You fucking racists!” he says. “How did this happen, you racists?”
This next link has a disturbing remark about an Obama non-veto possibility: The Abortion Language In The Sex Trafficking Bill Would Make Life Harder For Rape Victims
Republicans in Congress claim the anti-abortion language that is threatening to sink an otherwise uncontroversial sex trafficking bill is the same innocuous provision that Democrats have routinely approved in spending bills. Even the White House this week declined to say that President Barack Obama would veto the bill with the abortion restrictions in it, suggesting it’s a poison pill the administration might be willing to swallow.
The anti-abortion provision would renew a restriction that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger, and would extend the same restrictions to the compensation funds paid to victims of human trafficking. This means that child sex trafficking survivors who have become pregnant from rape would be forced to jump through numerous extra legal and administrative hoops in order to prove they were raped so they can use their victims’ compensation funds to help pay for their abortion. Often, these victims are young, have endured multiple rapes per day, and are not prepared to confront a deeply confusing and inconsistent legal system.
“It isn’t automatically clear that courts around the country view women in these circumstances as having been raped,” said Marcia Greenberger, president of the National Women’s Law Center. “That is a step that seems obvious. It’s a step that we would argue should be obvious, but it isn’t established. We have seen all kinds of arguments about real rape and what constitutes rape, and unfortunately, prosecutors and courts around the country include some people with those distorted views about what is actually rape.”
The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday asked a federal judge to block an Alabama law that allows a fetus to be represented in court when a minor is seeking judicial permission for an abortion.
While abortion opponents have rolled out a variety of new restrictions on abortion in recent years – including new requirements on clinics and doctors – ACLU staff attorney Andrew Beck said the Alabama law was unique.
“This particular law is one of a kind,” Beck said.
Alabama minors must have permission from their parents or a judge to have an abortion. Alabama legislators in 2014 changed the judicial permission process to allow a judge, at his or her discretion, to appoint a guardian ad litem “for the interests of the unborn child.” The law also requires that local district attorneys are notified of the hearing and can question the minor and call witnesses.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker heard arguments on the ACLU request for a preliminary injunction blocking the law and a state request to dismiss the lawsuit. State lawyers argued the law provides options to the judge to obtain information about the minor’s maturity level, while the ACLU argued the law forced teens to go through a “trial” to obtain an abortion.
“It puts teens on trial to get a constitutionally protected procedure. It’s adversarial. She loses her anonymity because the district attorney or guardian ad litem can call in witnesses and interrogate the child,” said Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama.
Please, no more…this is so disturbing.
For a little context: Daily Show’s Jessica Williams Stupendously Pisses Off ‘Fetal Attorney’
If you are unable to see that clip, check it out here: The Unborn Ultimatum – The Daily Show – Video Clip | Comedy Central
PLUB=Pro-Life-Until-Birth…oh yeah, you got that right!
But back to GOP bashing, and rightfully so:
As Internet memes go, “you had one job” is my personal favorite. The basic idea is finding examples of people who are given one, fairly simple task to complete, but who manage to screw it up in embarrassing fashion. There’s no shortage of funny incidents to document the phenomenon.
Seriously, Charlie Pierce was right. It isn’t a laughing matter any more: The Republican Party Is A Party Of Subversives
Anyway, more on the plan for Women, Cut their paychecks and take away their healthcare! The GOP’s insane plan to woo women in 2016 – Salon.com
The GOP wants to attract women voters by putting a happy face on policies that will make their lives miserable
The dickheads probably would not be happy until we have a system where women need to take things to the extreme to survive: Egyptian single mother who spent 43 years living as a man to work and provide for her daughter honoured as the ‘ideal mother’ – Africa – World – The Independent
Oy, extremes. That is a word for today.
I have a few links left and they deal with extremes.
Citing “constant questions” concerning use of taxpayer and campaign funds for private expenditures, Congressman Aaron Schock (R – Downton Abbey) abruptly announced yesterday that he will resign at the end of this month.
While Schock’s downfall will be officially credited to the recent string of revelations relating to his personal use of campaign and taxpayer funds, along with politically-affiliated real estate deals, that isn’t what we’re going to remember him for. Plenty of politicians play on the margins when it comes to financial disclosures, and still more use their political influence for financial gain.
But not too many politicians flaunt their ill-gotten wealth, power and finely-tuned deltoids as brazenly as Aaron “Haters Gonna Hate” Schock, who never saw a vacation he didn’t want someone else to pay for — and have his “personal photographer” document for the world to see.
And boy, did we see it.
The shooting in Arizona yesterday? Well, Suspect in Arizona Shooting Spree a White Supremacist Skinhead | Hatewatch
And finally, how is this for extreme dinosaur reptile from the long past…at least 6,000 years ago, for you red-necks out there! (Snark, extreme snark I might add…)
A 9-foot-tall beast with bladelike teeth once stalked the warm and wet environs of what is now North Carolina some 230 million years ago, before dinosaurs came onto the scene there, scientists have found.
Now called Carnufex carolinensis, the crocodile ancestor likely walked on its hind legs, preying on armored reptiles and early mammal relatives in its ecosystem, the researchers say.
They named it Carnufex, meaning “butcher” in Latin, because of its long skull, which resembles a knife, and its bladelike teeth, which it likely used to slice flesh off the bones of prey, said lead study author Lindsay Zanno, of NC State University and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. “‘Butcher’ seemed a very appropriate way to get that into the minds of people,” Zanno told Live Science in an interview.
Damn, that is frightening. But I think I would take on a Carnufex before a PLUB asshole anyday of the week…I bet there is one thing you could count on, the Carnufex would fight fair.
This is an open thread y’all.
Below are all the photos plus more used in the post. I found them on Pinterest.
And…the news of the world…Loch Ness Monster shows herself to tourist…is “captured on film.”
(Hey, after days of Hillary Hate, I will take a story about the shy lost creature of the deep any day.)
A mother and daughter visiting Scotland for the first time believe they may have caught a glimpse of the elusive Loch Ness monster.
Consuela Ross and her daughter Reyshell Avellanoza were visiting from the Philippines when they visited the scenic body of water.
They were enjoying the view when something appeared to raise itself out of the water in front of them.
The object sank out of sight…
… leaving a “whirlpool” behind itRoss told the Scottish Daily Record they were taking pictures when someone pointed out a disturbance on the lake.
She said: “She said it looked like a big black belly. We looked and could see this big disturbance quite a way out and this big black object in the middle of it.
I was a little disappointed when I saw the pictures. I thought for sure that with a head line like: “captured on film” the beastie would have showed a lot more skin, scale, or whatever it is covered in.
Reyshell Avellanoza and her daughter were visiting Scotland last week from the Philippines, touring Loch Ness while they were in the country, according to the Aberdeen Press and Journal. While on the shores of the loch, they claim to have observed a large object rising from the waves, which they are convinced was the Loch Ness Monster. Unfortunately, they were so transfixed by what they were observing that they neglected to photograph it in time, instead capturing the monster’s wake after it dove once again.
Video at that link, you can see just how big the whirlpool gets after the thing goes under.
However, Nessie was not the only thing at Lock Ness making a big show…check this out: Stunning image shows meteor streaking across sky above Loch Ness | Fox News
It’s an incredible image – the bright tail of a meteor streaking across the clear night sky above Scotland’s Loch Ness. The image, which has been trending online, was an “absolute fluke,” according to John Alasdair Macdonald, a tour guide based in the Scottish Highlands, who captured the rare shot.
Macdonald told the Independent that he headed outside Monday night with his Sony RX100 compact camera to take shots of what he described as a beautiful evening. While walking, he noticed the meteor shooting across the sky.
“As my wife said, it was just sheer dumb luck,” he said. “It was a complete fluke, an absolute fluke.”
Could it be a sign that the alien apocalypse is shortly upon us?
I mean, the being’s from another world certainly would not be coming to earth looking for intelligent life, right?
More than four decades after an accident at a sawmill sent a piece of wood into Cecil Clayton’s skull, costing him a portion of his brain, the state of Missouri executed him Tuesday night for shooting and killing a police officer.
Clayton, 74, had petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to delay his lethal injection. His attorneys argued that because of the sawmill accident, he had an intellectual disability and therefore cannot be put to death. However, the Supreme Court denied his stay requests on Tuesday evening, rejecting all of his petitions for the justices to intervene and prevent his execution.
Clayton was sentenced to death for shooting and killing Christopher Castetter, a sheriff’s deputy in Purdy, Mo., in 1996. Attorneys for Clayton are not arguing that he is innocent, but instead point to his brain injury in asking the justices to act.
Clayton’s attorneys outlined the crime that resulted in his death sentence. They wrote that the police were called about Clayton trespassing around the home of his girlfriend’s mother. When Castetter was dispatched, they say, Clayton shot him and later said that Castetter “probably should have just stayed home” and “shouldn’t have smarted off to me.” But they note that Clayton also said he “wasn’t out there,” before going on to outline issues involving his intelligence and memory.
This argument has its origins in an accident that occurred in 1972. Clayton, who was a logger and sawmill operator, was working at his sawmill when a piece of wood broke off and stabbed into his skull. He was taken to a hospital, where he stayed for nine days, and he ultimately lost 7.7 percent of his brain and 20 percent of his frontal lobe, according to his attorneys.
As his attorneys describe it, Clayton “changed drastically and immediately” after the injury. Before the injury, they write that he was a married father who stopped drinking, became a preacher and traveled the country with his family, singing gospel and playing his guitar; afterward, he began drinking again, became depressed and violent, suffered memory loss and experienced hallucinations.
Penn State is in the news and it is because of some possible sex abuse, but it does not involve little boys this time. It does involve a fraternity and some secret Facebook pictures: Penn State Fraternity’s Secret Facebook Photos May Lead to Criminal Charges – NYTimes.com
Within the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity at Pennsylvania State University, the Facebook page and its photographs — of drugs, hazing and nude, unconscious women — were supposed to be among its brotherhood’s secrets.
But the clandestine website, known as 2.0 after a previous manifestation was discovered and shut down, has, since mid-January, been the subject of a police inquiry that this month led to the suspension of the fraternity’s Penn State chapter and could result in criminal charges.
“The evidence offered by the Facebook postings is appalling, offensive and inconsistent with the university community’s values and expectations,” Damon Sims, Penn State’s vice president for student affairs, said Tuesday in a statement. “We are confident that the various investigative and review processes, both internal and external to the university, will determine responsibility in this case. The university will hold accountable any groups and individuals found responsible.”
This is disgusting.
The Police Department here learned about the website in January when a former member of the fraternity walked into a police station and asked to meet with the authorities about what he thought might be criminal conduct. The man, who has since been declared a “cooperating informant,” eventually showed investigators printed copies of some of the photographs that appeared online.
“Some of the postings were of nude females that appeared to be passed out and nude or in other sexual or embarrassing positions,” a detective wrote in an affidavit included with a January search warrant application. “It appears from the photos provided that the individuals in the photos are not aware that the photos had been taken.”
Last night Boston Boomer linked to a news alert: White House is mailed package with cyanide – CNN.com
The White House received an envelope this week containing a substance that testing revealed to be cyanide, the Secret Service confirmed Tuesday.
“On Monday 3/16/15, an envelope was received at the White House Mail Screening Facility. Initial Biological testing was negative; however, on 03/17/15, the chemical testing returned a presumptive positive for cyanide,” said Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary in a statement. “The sample was transported to another facility to confirm the results.”
The envelope was initially reported by the Intercept, which received an internal law enforcement document that alerted staff to the incident.
“An envelope containing an unknown milky substance, in a container wrapped in a plastic bag, received at the White House Mail Screening Facility, tested positive for cyanide,” the alert read.
According to the Intercept, the alert identified the man listed as the return address on the envelope as having a long history with the Secret Service, dating back to 1995. That history includes an incident in which the man sent a package covered in urine and feces.
Nice. So does this mean the possible suspect doesn’t like the Clintons either?
How many of you think the address led to this guy’s house:
Surely, you think I say that in jest?
I mean, they are traitors in my opinion…at least those 47.
Hey, the GOP is willing to get further along in the covert area of special ops:
In other gut wrenching news: Racist dad doesn’t allow daughter at black girl’s birthday – NY Daily News
You just can’t make this shit up:
A 10-year-old girl was trying to have a birthday party and a race relations discussion broke out.
African-American child Harmony Jones invited a friend to her party on Friday night in Memphis, Tenn., but the young girl got a stunning magic marker note in return: her friend’s dad wouldn’t let her attend due to the birthday girl’s race, WREG-TV reported.
The unidentified child wrote in blue, green and pink, “Maby [SIC] I will not be able to come to your birthday sleepover, because my dad will not let me go because you are black.”
The girl added, “Not trying to be races [SIC], but my mom let me go. Happy birthday!”
Despite the shocking illustration of one parent’s prejudice, the episode shouldn’t be viewed as either a reflection on the children’s school, Highland Oaks Elementary School, or the community that’s changed around it in the Hickory Hill area, Highland Oaks PTA president Barbara Davis told the Daily News.
“We have a lot wider variety of populations at the school, but, in saying that, we’ve been a very close group,” said Davis, who has three children attending the school and denounced the letter as a regrettable isolated incident. “I’m calling them ignorant, but it’s their choice to feel that way, right or wrong.”
Davis declined to state the racial breakdown of the elementary school, noting that the birthday party was not a school-sanctioned event. But she acknowledged that the area had changed in recent years, a story told vividly by census data for the zip code occupied by the school.
How the hell do these assholes sleep with themselves.
I don’t know, it makes me think that we are all chasing windmills…
Cervantes, who died in 1616, is known as the father of the modern novel. He wrote Don Quixote, a tale of an errant knight and his loyal sidekick, Sancho Panza. Originally written in Spanish, this two volume epic has been translated into more than 60 languages.
Now it seems that his remains, along with those of his wife and several others, were found by a team of researchers in the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid. Cervantes had asked to be buried in the convent after the order of nuns helped free him when he was captured by pirates in 1575, but the exact location was forgotten when the convent was rebuilt in the 17th century.
“He’s there,” historian Fernando de Prado told the Guardian, referencing fragmented bones found in the floor of the crypt. “We know that some of these bones belong to Cervantes.”
Take a look at the link to learn more about the legend of Cervantes grave…they are hoping to have the crypt open to the public in time for the 400 year anniversary of Cervantes death which comes around next year.
I will end with this clip from the film The Milagro Beanfield War.
The Coyote Angel says, “Don Amarante de Cordoba, I see windmills…on your horizon.”
See what I mean…Windmills indeed.
More links to come in the comments below.
Hey, what do you know?
They use other animals to sniff out land mines, including dogs and rats…which seems like a more logical answer to me. I mean, if a rat missteps on a landmine and bang….little mess.
But an elephant?
What will you see when you see an elephant step on a landmine?
I’ll tell you one thing, it sure a shit won’t be a small showing.
But back to the elephants….Elephants can also smell water a kabillion miles away as well…so perhaps California could make use of them as well?
Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California’s winter was as well.
As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.
Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.
As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.
Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.
Well, that is a scary last paragraph there. More of that op/ed at the link.
I know that the beginning of the post was lighthearted, however now I need to touch on some of the destruction set in motion over the last 48 hours in the South Pacific.
Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu as the UN was hosting its third world conference on disaster risk reduction in Sendai, Japan.
That meeting heard that over the past 45 years the Asia Pacific region has suffered cumulative economic losses of $A1.49 trillion from natural disasters, and had lost more than 2 million lives. And Vanuatu, according to a key report presented to delegates, was the country most at risk in the entire world, followed by Tonga, The Philippines, Japan and Costa Rica.
Today, as the island nation begins to count its dead and the economic cost of the weekend destruction, it will need all its traditional resilience to live up to its name. Vanuatu means “Our Land Forever,” a phrase that has always struck an appropriately defiant note in the face of the many threats it faces.
In this latest challenge, winds of up to 270km per hour ripped through the island group, after building speed as the cyclone passed first over Kiribati and then Solomon Islands immediately to Vanuatu’s north west. Alice Clements, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, who was in Port Vila, told Reuters that as the cyclone hit the city, “it felt like the world was coming to an end”.
Be sure to read that article, it has a lot of information, about the island nation…it’s people and what they will be going through after the clean up.
Cyclone Pam hit the island as a Category 5. First aid teams reach Vanuatu, find widespread devastation after cyclone | Reuters
The first aid teams to reach Vanuatu reported widespread devastation on Sunday as authorities declared a state of emergency after a “monster” cyclone tore through the Pacific island nation.
With winds of more than 300 kph (185 mph), Cyclone Pam razed homes, smashed boats and washed away roads and bridges as it struck late on Friday and into Saturday. Aid workers described the situation as catastrophic.
Aid workers were particularly worried about the southern island of Tanna. An official with the Australian Red Cross told Reuters an aircraft had managed to land there and aid workers confirmed there was “widespread destruction”.
“Virtually every building that is not concrete has been flattened,” said the official, adding two deaths had been confirmed on the island which has a population of about 29,000 and is about 200 km (125 miles) south of the capital, Port Vila.
Witnesses in Port Vila described sea surges of up to eight metres (26 feet) and widespread flooding as the category 5 cyclone hit. Residents said the storm sounded like a freight train. Port Vila was strewn with debris and looked as if a bomb had gone off.
Pacific nation devastated by historic Cyclone Pam – Video at that link.
And then, on the other side of the world, a tragic bus accident: Brazil bus crash: at least 40 dead after plunge off cliff | World news | The Guardian
At least 40 people died on Saturday when a passenger bus drove off a cliff in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, police said.
The bus, en route from the neighbouring state of Parana, swerved off a curve and fell dozens of metres before crashing in a wooded area. Rescue crews were bringing up dozens of bodies as well as survivors.
The bus was about six miles (10km) from its destination in the city of Joinville when it crashed. Highway and weather conditions at the time were good, a police spokesman said.
Though no immediate cause for the crash had been determined, police said it appeared the brakes on the bus failed.
Brazil has some of Latin America’s deadliest roads. Despite nearly a decade of sustained economic growth that only slowed in recent years, the country has done little to improve or expand its creaky infrastructure.
Alright, back to the other links:
Likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush used his personal email while governor of Florida to discuss troop deployments, nuclear plant protection and other such matters, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.
The report followed revelations that Democrat Hillary Clinton, also seen as a likely presidential candidate, used a personal email account exclusively during her time as secretary of state, raising questions about security and transparency.
On his personal account, email@example.com, Bush discussed the Florida National Guard’s movements and training activities as well as his decision to provide less security to nuclear power plants in the state, the newspaper reported.
Bush aides told the Post that none of the emails contained sensitive or classified information, and many of the events mentioned in them were documented in press accounts. But security experts say private email systems such as the one used by Bush are more vulnerable to hackers.
Democrats have attempted to divert the focus on Clinton’s use of a personal email account to conduct work as U.S. secretary of state by saying that Bush used the same practice in Florida, where he was governor from 1999 to 2007.
Then you have this, Hillary Clinton’s Over-Played Woman Card | RealClearPolitics
Last week, the Wall Street Journal featured “A Better World, Run By Women,” a rather hilarious essay penned by Emory anthropology professor Melvin Konner. As more women gain power around the world, Konner argued, the better our lives will be. “Research has found,” he wrote, “that women are superior to men in most ways that will count in the future.”
Konner was just warming up. “There is every reason to think that a future national hierarchy staffed and led by women who no longer have to imitate men, dealing with other nations similarly transformed, would be less likely to go to war,” he added. “But that’s not all. Sex scandals, financial corruption and violence are all overwhelmingly male.”
I assume he wrote this with a straight face. I also assume that he has never watched The Real Housewives of New Jersey, attempted to score half-price designer shoes at the Barney’s Warehouse Sale, or patronized a crowded Chuck E. Cheese’s that serves liberal amounts of alcohol in an over-the-hill and questionably located strip mall. (Hint: There are often fights.)
That shitty piece is written by a woman by the way…I won’t quote any more from it, you can go and read the rest of the bait at the link if you really want to. That is if you feel like getting in a pissy mood.
So after a link to an article like that, how about a link to someone good…that cares about her fellow women: Feminists don’t hate men. But it wouldn’t matter if we did | Jessica Valenti | Comment is free | The Guardian
One of the most common derisive taunts thrown at feminists – and one of the oldest – is “manhater”. It’s been around since the days of suffrage, and still gets used today, though its a pretty anodyne insult. Most feminists, like me, shun the label and work to convince people that despite the stereotypes feminists absolutely, without a doubt, do not hate men.
But so what if we did?
It’s not that I recommend hating men or think it a particularly wise use of one’s time, but to each her own. Straight white men still hold the majority of political, economic and social power in the world, and everyone else struggles to make their lives work with less. So if the worst thing that happens to a man is that a woman doesn’t like him …well, he has it pretty damn good. It’s not as if we’re living in some sort of Wicker Man-inspired dystopia, after all.
Besides, when women hate men, we hurt their feelings. When men hate women, they kill us: mass shootings have been attributed to misogyny, and sexual and domestic violence against women is often fuelled by a hatred for women.
That’s why it’s so hard to take seriously any claims that “misandry” is a tremendous problem – they’re based on the idea that merely insulting men is similar to the life-threatening misogyny women face worldwide. (Most recently, Newsday writer Cathy Young argued that men being called “mansplainers” or rape apologists is akin to the rape and death threats that women get online.)
But a younger generation of feminists has embraced what Slate writer Amanda Hess calls “ironic misandry”. Hess wrote last year that the rise in popularity of “male tears” mugs and man-hating inspired shirts and crafts serves as a sort of fuck-you to the constant barrage of harassment that feminists often face: “On its most basic level, ironic misandry functions like a stuck-out tongue pointed at a playground bully.”
Finish it up at the link.
Hey, check this out: Republican Votes for Loretta Lynch May Be at Historic Low
The most amazing thing about the Loretta Lynch story is that the congressional community no longer views it as amazing.
Lynch is on course to be confirmed this month after the longest wait ever for a nominee to be attorney general — and very likely by the closest vote ever to put a new person in charge of the Justice Department.
When Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the Senate debate on the nomination would begin next week, it marked 17 weeks and three days since President Barack Obama announced his choice for one of the most prestigious and pivotal positions in his Cabinet. At the time, Lynch was assured the bare minimum level of public support required for victory. Only four Republicans have announced they’ll join the 46 members of the Democratic Caucus in voting for her, meaning that at least for the time being Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had best keep his March travel schedule a bit flexible.
Still, her sluggishly contentious path toward becoming the nation’s top law enforcement official has garnered relatively little public attention. That’s in large part because Lynch hasn’t become a focus of the daily partisan histrionics on the Hill or on cable news. And a big reason for that is because neither side views the fundamental dispute over her — extraordinary as it is by historical standards — to be remarkable at all in the context of today.
One more feminist article: TripAdvisor removes ‘feminist’ review | UK news | The Guardian
A review in which a customer described seeing a manager biting a waitress and slapping her on the bottom has been removed by TripAdvisor for contravening its guidelines.
And lastly…Cuba is coming into the 20th Century: Free Wi-Fi in Havana Shows Cuba’s Telecommunications Future — The Atlantic
It’s an image that’s familiar around the world: A group of young people, glued to their laptops or smart phones, lounging around a public space and taking advantage of free, wireless Internet. But in Cuba, this scene is far from ordinary. When the famed artist Kcho provided wi-fi at his cultural center some weeks ago, he established the first such venue in the country’s history. Now, in a rapidly changing Cuba, milestones like this have become more commonplace.
To its beneficiaries, free wi-fi is about more than gaining access to computer games and social media. It also involves establishing contact with the outside world. One 20-year-old at the cultural center was using wi-fi to chat with his father, who lives in the United States.
“Thanks to this service I can talk to him,” the man, Adonis Ortiz, told theWashington Post.
This is something amazing indeed…
At least I think so. Not on the political front, but just in terms of a cultural standpoint. We are talking about a country driven by the car wheels of the 50’s…literally.
Three months after President Obama announced that the U.S. and Cuba would normalize relations, the island’s long period of isolation appears to be coming to an end—and telecommunications is just one dimension of the change. On Saturday, a group of 80 civic and business leaders will travel from New Orleans to Havana to attend a conference, marking the first direct flight between the two cities in 57 years. And next week, a New York-based tour operator will launch a weekly charter flight between the Cuban capital and New York’s JFK airport.
Still, Cuba’s antiquated communications infrastructure presents an obstacle to economic development. In anticipation of restored U.S-Cuban ties, Havana is seeking billions of dollars in foreign direct investment across a range of sectors, but the lack of IT resources hampers these relationships. Nine out of 10 Cubans lack access to a mobile phone, and Internet connections are slow and subject to government censorship. State-run Internet cafes in the country charge $4.50 an hour for online access, a huge sum where the average monthly salary is about $20. Broadband Internet connections in Cuban homes are virtually unheard of.
The transition to a modern, Internet-driven economy won’t happen overnight. Nor is it certain to force political change. In the U.S., critics of normalization have argued that establishing closer economic ties to Cuba will only empower the Castro regime. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and probable presidential candidate, has cited evidence that engagement with other Communist countries did not compel them to liberalize.
“We have those policies of normalization toward Vietnam, for example, toward China,” Rubio said in December. “They’re not any more politically free today than they were when that normalization happened.”
Kcho’s cultural center offering free wi-fi in Havana, too, offers little promise of political liberalization—the center even hosted Fidel Castro last year. But for Cubans long deprived of the quality Internet service the developed world takes for granted, getting online has less to do with politics than with daily conveniences such as communicating with friends and buying things off the web. Belkis Baisal, a bed and breakfast operator in Havana, told AFP that regular Internet access will allow her to advertise her rooms. Normalization, she said, is a positive sign.
“It’s better to have friends than enemies.”
In an October (2014) survey, 40 percent of more than 1,000 teens said they had been hit or nearly hit by a car while walking, the organization Safe Kids Worldwide reported. And 85 percent of those said they were listening to music, talking on their phones or texting when it happened.
Researcher Jack Nasar at the University of Ohio calculated that more than 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries suffered while using their cellphones.
That was almost six times as many as five years earlier.
And Nasar said the number was probably much higher since it isn’t strictly tracked. He hasn’t followed up since, although he and others are working on a study of just how prevalent cellphone use is on the street.
Several hospitals in the Lower Hudson Valley said they don’t ask people if they were texting when they got hurt. And patients may be too embarrassed to volunteer the information.
“They may not want to admit they were an idiot,” Nasar said.
Most of us are no stranger to this scenario: A group of friends sits down to a meal together, laughing, swapping stories, and catching up on the news – but not necessarily with the people in front of them! Nowadays, it’s not unusual to have one’s phone handy on the table, easily within reach for looking up movie times, checking e-mails, showing off photos, or taking a call or two. It’s a rare person who doesn’t give in to a quick glance at the phone every now and then. Today’smultifunctional phones have become anindispensable lifeline to the rest of the world.
We might expect that the widespread availability of mobile phones boosts interpersonal connections, by allowing people to stay in touch constantly. But a recent set of studies by Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein of the University of Essex showed that our phones can hurt our close relationships. Amazingly, they found that simply having a phone nearby, without even checking it, can be detrimental to our attempts at interpersonal connection.
It’s been a long, terrible day. As you recount your struggles, you suddenly notice your partner is furiously typing on his phone. Your anger boils (you’ve forgotten that you did the same thing to him just yesterday). It’s time to step away from the smartphone, put down the tablet, shut the laptop and turn off the TV. A slew of recent researchsuggests that if people want happy relationships, they need to stop clinging to technology.
In a new study, Coyne asked 143 married or cohabitating women to answer questions about technology use and relationships. She wanted to understand how technology encroaches on our lives and relationships, what she calls “technoference.” The vast majority of respondents, 70 percent, said using a cell phone interrupted interactions between them and their partners sometimes, often, very often or all the time. Even more, 74 percent, said that computers sometimes, often, very often or all the time disturbed their interactions with partners.
The women who reported technoference also said they fought more with their partners, which made them feel badly about their relationships. On top of this, they felt more depressed and less satisfied with life.
“What I think the most important finding is, the more you let the technology interfere, the more conflict you have with your spouse or partner and that leads to not feeling great about the relationship,” she says.
Still there’s other research showing that cell phone dependence can be unhealthy.
“Cell phone attachment is positively related to an increase in stress and anxiety and even depression,” says James A. Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University Hankamer School of Business.
In a 2012 paper, Roberts coined the word “phub,” a mash-up of phone and snub. Phubbing occurs when someone chooses to play with an app, text or take a phone call instead of paying attention to a person.
“Essentially, what we are saying is that you don’t matter,” he says. “It touches at our core.”
Oh boy…the horror…..Cubans are a hot-blooded people, believe me I know from my experience. But we are also a passionate emotionally connected people with a strong culture of close associations. We are not a cold group of people either…we hug…human contact is big with us. So I hope that those kinds of cultural values don’t change as technology seeps into Cuba. I can’t say if it has changed within out own communities here in the US…as I have been stuck in Hicktown Banjoville for so dang long, but I can at least hope and pretend things are still the same back home in West Tampa. It’s all I got sometimes, when all around me is fried chicken and racist ignorance. I do miss the days when there were more colors in my world….all types of colors.
You all have a great day.