Wednesday Reads: Tired and In the Dark

cllasGood Morning

This is going to be a pathetic morning round-up. Honestly, I am just too tired for anything other than a link dump, which is what I am giving you.

First this article about the HPV vaccine, you remember…the one that Michelle Bachmann declared makes little girls become crazed sex fiends. It is crazy not to get this series of shots…Why don’t teens get shots for HPV and other diseases?

My daughter and my son have gotten this vaccine, on recommendation of their pediatrician. At least they are both safe, from getting HPV and giving HPV which causes cancer.

More health news, well…if being unable to sleep straight through the night is a sign of Alzheimers, than this next link is also bad news. Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain

Hmm, that must be the reason my ass is sooooo huge. Lack of sleep and addiction to carbs. Go figure.

This next story is heartbreaking, and disgusting, and maddening all at the same time: Facing Protective Orders and Allowed to Keep Guns

You can probably tell from the article’s title that it involves violence against women.

Meanwhile:

In tech news: More addresses please—US hits a half-billion Internet devices

In nuke news: US orders nuclear sites to upgrade vents

Take a look at this, evolution going on right before our windshields.  Study: Birds evolve shorter wings to survive highway traffic

And to end this link dump…a couple of space articles. One story that deals with the heavens during the light of day, and  the other during the dark of night…

10 surprising space objects to see in the daytime sky:  A rundown of space objects visible under the right conditions to the unaided human eye during the day.

Moon and Jupiter on March 17, 2013

A beautiful image of last night’s moon and planet Jupiter from EarthSky Facebook friend VegaStar Carpentier in Paris.

Via VegaStar Carpentier Photogrpahy.  VegaStar is in Paris.  Thank you!   View larger.

Via VegaStar Carpentier Photogrpahy. Thank you, VegaStar! View larger.

Treat this as an open thread, and have a wonderful day.


Wednesday Reads: Winter…Sunlight, Monsters and Tolkien

78308149-7d10-4b53-8b07-648b314a268bGood Morning!

Finally…we have a nippy morning here in Banjoland! I love the cold weather, it makes sleeping late in a nice cozy bed even more enjoyable.

There was another shooting late yesterday, this time in Portland, Oregon. Gunman Opens Fire in Oregon Shopping Mall. According to VOA, the gunman shot and killed two people before turning the gun on himself…no final number of wounded as I write this post. I will be sure to update you on this latest shooting as more information comes forward.

Okay…I’ve got plenty of politics for you this morning, if it is okay I will give them to you in link dump fashion. (Honestly, I am still a bit “gun-shy” with WordPress. It may take a few post before I feel comfortable writing a lot of words in these threads. I think it is a slight case of PSTD, from way back in college…when my final thesis went phffft, poof and gone…just as I was printing the thing out on the day it was due. Nightmare!)

Anyway, here are some of the political stories of the last 24 hours:

Soledad kicked some major ass yesterday. She is awesome at her job, which btw is being a journalist and a real savvy reporter. Soledad Grills Jeff Sessions: ‘You Hurt People Who Need Food’ with Food Stamp Cuts

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on Tuesday faced tough questions from CNN host Soledad O’Brien for his plan to cut the food stamp program and “hurt people who need food,” including 20 percent of his own constituents in Alabama.

Speaking to Sessions in an interview on CNN’s Starting Point, O’Brien wondered if cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should be on the table as part of the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations.

“Absolutely,” Sessions insisted. “This month was a record increase in food stamp participation at a time when unemployment is declining.”

“But there are people who say if you’re doing cuts, you invariably hurt people who need food,” O’Brien observed. “It’s 61 percent of households in your state have children who are recipients of the food program that they’re on.”

Sessions continued to spew his crap, I mean opinion:

“Soledad, this program has been growing out of control at an incredible rate and there are a lot of people receiving benefits who do not qualify and should not receive them,” Sessions remarked. “No child, no person who needs food should be denied that food. Nobody proposes that. We are talking about an amendment that I offered that would have reduced and closed a loophole of $8 billion when we would spend $800 billion was opposed by saying it would help — it would leave people hungry in America, but it would have only eliminated abuses in the program.”

The CNN host, however, pointed out that the Alabama Republican had voted twice to grow the program and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities had determined that “SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program.”

“People highlight the program as actually not having a lot of fraud,” O’Brien explained. “Most people who are on it are not somehow working the system. They’re just hungry people.”

Snap for SNAP…Video at the link.

From ABC News, and what looks like the back of Barbara Walter’s head: EXCLUSIVE: President Obama Predicts GOP Will Cave on Taxes

PHOTO: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Dec. 11, 2012.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama participate in an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Dec. 11, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As the clock ticks toward a tax hike on all Americans in 20 days, President Obama predicted Republicans would join Democrats to extend current rates for 98 percent of earners before the end of the year.

“I’m pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals,” Obama said today in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Barbara Walters.

You wanna bet?

These right-wing Republicans are like bulldogs locked down on a hunk of red meat…they do not give up. Just take a look at these headlines:

Angry with Obama, GOP threatens political war next year – CNN.com

Rick Perry: Outlawing All Access To Abortion Is ‘My Goal’ | ThinkProgress

Yes, threats and promises of all out war to get what they want. Basturds!

In other GOP political news:

H/T to Tennessee Guerilla Women: Michigan ‘Right-to-Work-for-Less’ Bill Copied from Koch-Funded ALEC Playbook

You didn’t think Michigan Republicans had an original idea:

Michigan Passes “Right to Work” Containing Verbatim Language from ALEC Model Bill 

I’ve got to share this political cartoon with you, it can’t wait until our Friday Nite Lite:

Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Right to Work Pee

Right to Work Pee © Daryl Cagle,CagleCartoons.com,ssGOP,Republican,elephant,urine,union,United Auto Workers,UAW,AFL-CIO,Teamsters,pee

Yup, piss on…piss on!

This latest PPP poll shows that people are sick of the mutant asshole turtle, I mean…Mitch McConnell…he is highly unpopular according to Public Policy Polling

Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular Senator in the country. Only 37% of Kentucky voters approve of him to 55% disapprove. Both in terms of raw disapproval (55%) and net approval (-18) McConnell has the worst numbers of any of his peers, taking that mantle from Nebraska’s Ben Nelson.

McConnell is predictably very unpopular with Democrats (23/73). But his numbers are almost as bad with independents (33/58) and even with Republicans he’s well below the 70-80% approval range you would usually expect for a Senator within their own party (59/28).

If only this disgust toward McConnell would relate in votes against the man.

The reason McConnell does decently well in the head to head match ups despite his poor approval numbers is that even though a lot of Republicans dislike him, most of them would still vote for him in a general election before they would support a Democrat. This is the same phenomenon we saw in Florida and Pennsylvania this year where Bill Nelson and Bob Casey won by solid margins despite middling approval numbers because Democrats that weren’t thrilled with them still voted for them. And although independents don’t like McConnell they don’t like most of the Democrats either, and they support McConnell in every match up we tested.

The PPP article mentions Ashley Judd, go read the rest at the link. (I sure hope Judd does run for McConnell seat in 2014. But my hope is up there with a Hillary run in 2016….I think it is kind of a long shot they will run period.)

Speaking of Hillary, Nate Silver has this to say about Hillary 2016: Why Hillary Clinton Would Be Strong in 2016 (It’s Not Her Favorability Ratings)

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a formidable presidential candidate in 2016.

Mrs. Clinton’s credentials as secretary of state, as a United States senator and as a politically engaged first lady would be hard for any of her Democratic or Republican rivals to match. She would have little trouble raising funds or garnering support from the Democratic officials, and she might even come close to clearing the Democratic field of serious opposition.

Be sure to read the rest of Silver’s post.

With the release of The Hobbit later this week, J.R.R. Tolkien is figuring in lots of blog post, like this one from Medieval.net: Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics

Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics

By J. R. R. Tolkien

Introduction: In 1864 the Reverend Oswald Cockayne wrote of the Reverend Doctor Joseph Bosworth, Rawlinsonian Professor of Anglo-Saxon: ‘I have tried to lend to others the con-viction I have long entertained that Dr. Bosworth is not a man so diligent in his special walk as duly to read the books… which have been printed in our old English, or so-called Anglosaxon tongue. He may do very well for a professor.’ These words were inspired by dissatisfaction with Bosworth’s dictionary, and were doubtless unfair. If Bosworth were still alive, a modern Cockayne would probably accuse him of not reading the ‘literature’ of his subject, the books written about the books in the so-called Anglo-Saxon tongue. The original books are nearly buried.

Of none is this so true as of The Beowulf, as it used to be called. I have, of course, read The Beowulf, as have most (but not all) of those who have criticized it. But I fear that, unworthy successor and beneficiary of Joseph Bosworth, I have not been a man so diligent in my special walk as duly to read all that has been printed on, or touching on, this poem. But I have read enough, I think, to venture the opinion that Beowulfiana is, while rich in many departments, specially poor in one. It is poor in criticism, criticism that is directed to the understanding of a poem as a poem. It has been said of Beowulf itself that its weakness lies in placing the unimportant things at the centre and the important on the outer edges. This is one of the opinions that I wish specially to consider. I think it profoundly untrue of the poem, but strikingly true of the literature about it. Beowulf has been used as a quarry of fact and fancy far more assiduously than it has been studied as a work of art.

It is of Beowulf, then, as a poem that I wish to speak; and though it may seem presumption that I should try with swich a lewed mannes wit to pace the wisdom of an heep of lerned men, in this department there is at least more chance for the lewed man. But there is so much that might still be said even under these limitations that I shall confine myself mainly to the monsters—Grendel and the Dragon, as they appear in what seems to me the best and most authoritative general criticism in English—and to certain considerations of the structure and conduct of the poem that arise from this theme.

Click here to read this article from the College of Southern Idaho

Click here to read this article from TeacherWeb

Click here to read this article from the University of Georgia

Hopefully one of those three links will work for you. Enjoy it!

And finally, a big hat-tip to Fiscal Liberal, who emailed me these links below…kewl as hell!

First link is to a blog that details the movement of sunlight and weather during the day, via Opentopia – World Sunlight Map

FireShot Screen Capture #358 - 'Opentopia - World Sunlight Map' - www_opentopia_com_sunlightmaprect_html

A world map showing current sunlight and cloud cover, as of Dec 12 2012 02:00 UTC.
This is the rectangular projection. You can also see a more realistic hemispherical projection.
Image provided by die.net.

Click the link to see the updated real/time image.

This next link is to a 19 minute video, OVERVIEW on Vimeo

On the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective presents a short film documenting astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect.

The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment.

I’ve embedded the video below…however if you want to see a larger screen image, click on that Vimeo link up top. Hope you enjoy this one too.

That is all I got for you this morning, should be a good start, right? What are you all reading and thinking about today?


It’s a Monday Evening…

Good Evening

As I write this post, my daughter is in her room laughing…having a good time. It is such a wonderful sound to hear.

Okay, tonight we stick with science links and some are cool!

First up, have you seen the helmet cam video of Felix Baumgartner? Here are two links for you. One from Huffpo has some German broadcaster commentary. The other from Gizmodo has no commentary, and you can here Felix breathing faster as he falls.

Felix Baumgartner Suit Camera Captures Dizzying Uncontrolled Spin (VIDEO)

Felix Baumgartner Camera Video

Video from Felix Baumgartner’s suit-mounted camera captured a dangerous moment when the Austrian skydiver spun out of control during his 24-mile jump on Sunday.

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner faced many dangers during his historic, 24-mile leap on Sunday. But new video from his chest-mounted camera, which was pointed at his helmet, captures one particularly terrifying moment when the Austrian daredevil went into an uncontrolled spin.

Left unchecked, the high-velocity spin would have been life-threatening, forcing blood to Baumgartner’s extremities and possibly out his ocular cavities, according to National Geographic.

First Head Cam Video of Supersonic Space Jump

Truly terrifying stuff. And awesome too.

According to Red Bull Stratos, Felix said he thought he was going to lose consciousness at one point because of the violent spinning:

“There was a time I really thought I was in trouble. I had to decide to fight all the way down and I finally got stable.

That spin became so violent it was hard to know how to get out of it. I was able to get it under control and break the speed of sound.

I could feel myself break the speed of sound. I could feel the air building up and then I hit it.”*—Felix Baumgartner

Fortunately, he managed to control the spin—somehow!—and look down to Earth, keeping a steady descent course. The video shows that moment, too.

While Felix was dropping to earth, another flight hero was breaking the sound barrier too: Chuck Yeager breaks sound barrier again, 65 years after historic flight 

<br />	Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Yeager straps into an F-15D for a re-enactment flight commemorating his breaking of the sound barrier 65 years ago on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)<br />

Isaac Brekken/AP

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Yeager straps into an F-15D for a re-enactment flight commemorating his breaking of the sound barrier 65 years ago on Sunday.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AP) — Sixty-five years after becoming the first human to fly faster than the speed of sound, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager is still making noise.

The 89-year-old Yeager, who was featured in the movie “The Right Stuff,” flew in the back seat Sunday of an F-15 Eagle as it broke the sound barrier at more than 30,000 feet above California’s Mojave Desert — the same area where he first achieved the feat in 1947 while flying an experimental rocket plane.

He did it at exactly the same time as the first trip,

The F-15 carrying Yeager took off from Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas and broke the sound barrier at 10:24 a.m. Sunday, exactly 65 years to the minute the then-Air Force test pilot made history.

Scientists have identified the big eye that washed up onto a Florida Beach last week: Mystery eyeball identified  Can you guess what it was? It was a swordfish eye…

I love the pictures on this next link, from LA: Shuttle Endeavour: Top reader photos from L.A. journey

Submit photos

Shuttle-watchers came out in droves this weekend for the Endeavour’s final journey to its new home at the California Science Center.

The shuttle’s dramatic trip was marked by delays and excited crowds. When it finally pulled up to its new home at the California Science Center a day later than expected, Endeavour was greeted by thousands of cheering spectators.

We asked readers to share their best photos of the retired orbiter with the Times, and scores of people participated. Some people had some fun with the shuttle, using the tricks of photography to make them look closer to the shuttle than they actually were. You can see the full gallery here.

 READER PHOTOS: Shuttle’s trek across L.A.

The shuttle was “slowing down due to gas prices,” reader Christopher Martin joked about the photo above.

There are some pictures of the tail between two houses…and one with a street sign, be sure to take a look at them.

It’s another perfect day, I love LA!

So anything new going on in your world, share the links and comments, this is an open thread


Sunday Reads: The Dick That Keeps On Ticking and Auroras on Uranus

Good Morning!

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.

It continues…

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’m afraid.

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

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:

Fitting Tribute
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.”
Okay, now just a few last items to share with you…these are stories that should bring the mood of today’s post up…in a happier direction.

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?