Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Have a Gun, There a Gun, Everywhere a Gun

Good Day World!

On occasion, I like to share articles written by other bloggers that I believe have done an excellent job expressing their opinion on tough societal issues.

Todays blogger is PAUL WALDMAN, a daily blogger for The American Prospect.

Waldman writes about how our society is divided by two visions for America. One, has all Americans packing guns, all the time. The other, a world without guns on display everywhere.

Which one is your vision?

One of the things that makes a society work is that people have rights that are protected in the law, but they also exercise those rights with consideration for the society's other members.

For instance, we have a strong commitment to freedom of expression, such that many things that would be deemed obscene and get you tossed in jail in other countries are tolerated here.

So if I want do a performance art piece that involves lots of cursing and tossing about bodily fluids, I can do it. But I'm not going to do it on the sidewalk in front of your house during dinner time, not because I don't have the right, but because that would make me an asshole.

In the exercising of my rights, I'd be changing the conditions of your existence, even for a brief time, in a way that you'd find unpleasant. So because I value having a society where we all live together, I'll choose to find a theater to put on my performance, and you can choose to come see it or not.

In the same way, if you choose to have a gun in your home because you think it protects you, that's your right. I'm going to choose not to let my kid come play with your kid at your house, and we can all get along.

Our liberty is protected by our laws and institutions, not by our ability to wage war on our government. Canadians and Britons and French people aren't any less free than we are because they are less able to start killing cops and soldiers when they decide the time for insurrection has come.

Nevertheless, that basic right exists and it isn't going to be taken away. But the rest of us should also be able to say that there are limits to how far your exercising that right should be allowed to change the rest of our lives, and if necessary the law should enforce those limits.

The goal of many gun advocates, particularly those who promote concealed carry, is that we make it so as many people as possible take as many guns as possible into as many places as possible.

That's been the focus of their legislative efforts in recent years, not only passing concealed carry laws nearly everywhere, but also passing laws to make you able to take guns into bars, schools, government buildings, houses of worship, and so on, and also advocating for laws that would let you take your guns to communities where it would be otherwise illegal to carry them.

Which would mean that your right to carry your gun trumps the right of everyone else to say, this is a place where we've decided we don't want people bringing guns.

Is it possible that on my next visit to the local coffee place, a madman might come and shoot the place up? Yes, it's possible. And is it possible that if half the patrons were armed, one of them might be able to take him down and limit the number of people he killed?

Yes, it's possible. It's also possible that I'll win the next Powerball. But if holding out that infinitesimal possibility means that every time I go down for a coffee, I'm entering a place full of guns, it's not a price I'm willing to pay.

But gun advocates want to create a society governed by fear, or at the very least, make sure that everyone feels the same fear they feel. "An armed society is a polite society," they like to say, and it's polite because we're all terrified of each other.

They genuinely believe that that the price of safety is that there should be no place where guns, and the fear and violence they embody, are not present. Not your home, not your kids' school, not your supermarket, not your church, no place.

But for many of us—probably for most of us—that vision of society is nothing short of horrifying. (Condensed from “Here a Gun, There a Gun, Everywhere a Gun -JANUARY 18, 2013)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, October 13, 2014

Child abuse, witchcraft practiced in Fundamentalist Christian Churches in London

Image: Kristy Bamu, left, and Victoria Climbie

Kristy Bamu, left, was killed after what a prosecutor described as "a staggering act of depravity and cruelty." Victoria Climbie, right, was murdered in one of Britain's worst cases of child abuse.

                                            Good Day World!

My travels in search of stories to share brings me to London today. I have one that’s about bizarre religious practices that will shock you. It did me. I had no idea.

This is modern London, mind you.

“London's Metropolitan Police announced this week that reports of abuse where the child is accused of being a witch or possessed by an evil spirit are on the rise. Fourteen years after the force recorded its first allegation of such an incident, there have been at least 27 cases during in 2014 alone.” (source)

What’s happening, according to authorities, is there’s a version of fundamentalist Christianity practiced in London that believes in witches – and worse – tortures their own children to get rid of alleged demons. 

Most of the cases involve pastors or religious leaders in African communities who have incorporated elements of witchcraft or spirit possession into their version of fundamentalist Christianity.

These "rogue pastors" often tell families that a period of bad luck or even an illness has been caused by a child being possessed.

What motivates these religious leaders?

Power, money, greed and control. Many people who go to these churches are vulnerable and are looking for something to hold onto.

For example: There was a four-year-old old boy who was brought to the church attended by his mother because he was playing too rough with his brother. The pastor told her (the behavior) was the result of him being possessed and that he was a witch.

Shades of the Inquisition…

The boy endured a four-day "deliverance," in which he was starved, forced to drink hot palm oil and prevented from using the bathroom.

“The adults were actually laughing. They were stepping on his little body, his stomach, saying they were stepping on the spirits." - Testimony from Kevani Kanda who was accused of being a witch at six years old.

In the past decade and a half, London's most high-profile cases have been linked to Christian groups with roots in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa. But cases involving other faiths, such as Islam and Hinduism, have emerged more recently as authorities have delved deeper.

“Authorities say part of the problem with trying to combat abuse linked to witchcraft has been that officers have been wary of being branded racist in the past.” (Condensed version – full story here)

I wonder when saving these children will become more of a priority, transcending arguments over race? Hopefully, very soon.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hypocritial Help: Fracking Company & Susan G. Komen Foundation Equals Controversary


                                    Good Day World!
It’s been encouraging seeing all the support for breast cancer research this month. It’s a subject close to my heart. I lost one of my sisters to breast cancer years ago.
As a football fan, I couldn’t help notice the NFL’s massive support, with pink items ranging from gloves to shoes, to huge halftime displays supporting breast cancer research.
But there’s one donation coming at the close of the NFL’s pink-hued celebration of national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that I’m not looking forward to:
That’s when the chairman of Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc., will hand a check to Komen founder Nancy Brinker at Pittsburgh’s Heinz field on Oct. 26, before the Steelers play the Indianapolis Colts.
Why, you ask, is that a problem?

Here’s why:
“The Susan G. Komen Foundation has, once more, riled some of its base — breast-cancer activists, survivors and their families — this time by accepting $100,000 from an oil and fracking company that, in turn, produced 1,000 pink drill bits.
Some advocates are furious because some scientists have linked chemicals used in fracking to cancer.
The fact that Komen is partnering with a company that shoves chemicals into the earth that contain known carcinogens is ludicrous and preposterous,” said Angela Wall, communications director for Breast Cancer Action, a national advocacy group based in San Francisco. “It’s hypocritical, and it needs to be called out.”
Companies that swath their brands in pink, claiming to care about breast cancer while producing or selling products that expose people to chemicals linked to the disease, are doing untold damage to efforts to prevent breast cancer.
In fracking operations, highly pressurized chemicals and liquids are delivered to deep, underground rock formations in order to crack them to extract natural gas.
A compendium on fracking findings and studies, issued in July by an affiliation of New York scientists and medical groups who oppose fracking, reported: "25 percent of chemicals known to be used in fracking fluids are implicated in cancer.” (condensed version-read full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Alternate Universe: President Sarah Palin’s Rowdy Family Flees Birthday Party

Good Day World!

Try and imagine what it would have been like if the duo of John McCain, and Sarah Palin, would have won the presidential election in 2008.

While you’re mind-wrestling with that unsettling image, imagine President McCain suddenly dying and Sarah Palin becoming the first woman president in American history.

Still with me? Take a deep breath and remember we’re just imagining this stuff and you’re not in the clutches of a “daymare.”

So, it’s September 2014, and President Palin and her family are crashing a birthday party in South Anchorage, Alaska, when all hell breaks out!

Before the secret service can act, the president’s daughter, Bristol Palin, punches a man in the face repeatedly during an intoxicated rage.

Then she’s pounced upon by a group of women who drag her by her legs across the lawn as she shouts obscenities.

Matthew McKenna, a guest at the party, tries to break up one fight where the president’s husband, Todd Palin, is getting piled on by a group of angry men while two amused secret service agents watch!

Not to be outdone, the president’s eldest son Track wades into the brawl – has his shirt torn off, his mouth bloodied, and eye punched in. He soon disappears in the melee.

After the police come the party’s host, Korey Klingenmeyer, tells them he is considering filing charges and is "angry that the Palins had showed up and were causing problems.” He also tells the police he had asked Bristol to leave and she responded, "Who the f*** are you?"

The police report sites Klingemeyer’s response: “I own this home.” The report also says Bristol screams that she doesn’t believe him and warns she’s going to kick his a**," and she’s the president’s daughter.

This is nothing new for the agents who routinely bail them out of brawls.The first family piles into the Presidential limo and heads off into the night with little American flags posted on both the front and back fenders.

Does all of this imaginary scenario sound a little too far-fetched to you? What if I told you that part of this imaginary tale was actually true?

The part where the Palin family causes a brawl at a birthday party?

Check it out:  

Palin Family Brawl Detailed in Police Reports

No Charges in Fight at Party Attended by Palins

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kansas selling sex-toys to bail out cash-strapped state

Good Day World!

I’ve got a good story for you today that touches upon politics and porn.

For those of you who are unaware, Kansas is deeply in debt due to reckless income tax cuts. So what are politicians doing about it? Are you ready?

Selling porn in an online auction.

With tax revenues in the toilet, Kansas Governor (Rep) Sam Brownback has decided to bail out the cash-strapped state selling dildos, love jells, and fantasy love swings

“According to the Kansas City Star and a myriad of other news sources, the state is selling thousands of adult novelty items, from lingerie to handcuffs, in an online auction due to the failure of a chain of erotic stores to pay state sales, income, and withholding taxes in Kansas.”

What prompted Governor Brownback to sell porn when he’s been a traditional values type of guy who has spoken out against porn repeatedly? Hint: his ass is up against the wall!

I have to wonder how some of his longtime supporters, Rev. Pat Robertson, Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson, and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, feel about his decision to sell sex toys on the internet.

“According to the Kansas City Star’s Matt Campbell, “The merchandise was seized in July by the Kansas Department of Revenue from five adult stores in Kansas City, Kan., Topeka, Wichita and Junction City. The owner, United Outlets LLC, doing business as Bang, owes the state $163,986.”

Among the items being sold by Equip-Bid.com are a “fantasy love swing” in black and a 16-foot “Japanese silk love rope” in purple. Thankfully, the items are “all new and in the original packaging,” Campbell noted. (condensed version – read whole story here)

My final thought on this racy fundraiser for the state of Kansas is that it could catch on with other states that are in deep financial holes. All the governors have to do is bust some sex shops and sell the proceeds.

The hell with morals; money talks a lot louder in our society.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Medical Marijuana-Smoking Canadian Cop Commits Suicide

Good Day World!

This is a sad story of how stigma ruined a man’s life because he smoked medical marijuana.

Corporal Ronald Francis, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer with a medical marijuana prescription for job-related stress died of an apparent suicide Monday.

His case had spurred a national debate in Canada over his smoking in uniform.

Francis had smoked medical-grade marijuana to relieve post-traumatic stress related to 21 years on the job. He found that it helped him cope better.

Last November Francis gained widespread support for underscoring the need for employers to better understand medical marijuana use. But it also eventually caused him to lose his job, and he committed suicide.

The RCMP objected to him smoking in uniform, saying it risked tarnishing the federal police's image and sending mixed messages to the public about drug use.

Health Canada established regulations for accessing cannabis for medical purposes in 2001 after the courts struck down a broad prohibition of marijuana, but it still remains controversial.

Francis's struggles came to light in video footage of him smoking cannabis in his RCMP red serge uniform.

"I get up in the morning, have my coffee and the marijuana. I go at lunchtime, have a marijuana joint, and then again in the evening. That would be my medical regime," he had told public broadcaster CBC.

"I'm still functional," he added. "But your nervous system is relaxed, and that makes a big difference."

For the record, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gilles Moreau had said officers with a medical marijuana prescription could take their medication.

But he said that they should not do so while in uniform in public, and Francis said the RCMP stance was "anti-marijuana."

"I had to really make a moral decision about it. Because the RCMP and law enforcement, they seem so anti-marijuana, and that's a hard thing to overcome, so I had to make that decision for my own health. It wasn't based on my career or anything," Francis explained.

The disagreement escalated and Francis was ordered to turn in his uniforms.

Later he was charged with assaulting two fellow officers and breaching an undertaking to not possess or consume alcohol and non-prescription drugs.

He was to be sentenced in November after pleading guilty.(Source)

Francis is another sacrifice in the war to get government and employers to be sensible about medical marijuana use. The fact that he was in law enforcement just highlights how many people – from all walks of life – believe pot has a place in society.

It might have been time for Francis to retire, but the way it ended up there were no winners.

RIP… Ronald Francis.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Meet ‘Fire Fart’ the Pirate – He Was a Real Badass!

Good Day World!

Ahoy Matey! It’s Pirate Appreciation Day at my blog.

I’m going to introduce you to a pirate that you didn’t read about in school. For that matter, anywhere.

Now, you’ve probably heard of at least one of the following pirates:

 Blackbeard (Edward Teach), Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart), and Samuel Bellamy (Black Sam).

But how about Fire Fart the Pirate?

No, really. I’m not making this up. This dreaded 17th century pirate’s name was Antonio "Botafoc." The word botafoc means "fire blast" or "fire fart" — his real last name is lost to history.

FIRE FART’s HISTORY

With a name like Fire Fart, Antonio must have been a real bad ass. (Pun intended)

His story ties in with the Vatican, and now thanks to a new book “The Spoils of the Pope and the Pirates, 1357: The Complete Legal Dossier from the Vatican Archives,” by The Ames Foundation, his story can be told.

Here’s the condensed version:

The Vatican was once involved in piracy and bribery (tsk tsk), according to new documents from its archives. The newly published documents detail a medieval story about a dead bishop's treasure, the pope, and a pirate named 'Fire Fart'.

Fire Fart was no piker. His ship was armed to the teeth. Records indicate that his crew carried cutlasses (swords with curved blades used by sailors and pirates) and war pikes, and his galley had at least seven ballistae, which were large, crossbowlike devices capable of launching 9-inch (23 centimeters) stone bullets at high speeds.

Despite Fire Fart’s powerful ship the day came when a Dutch fleet put an end to his pirating career.

Fire Fart’s crew was hanged, but he, and his officers were let off with a fine, according to the Vatican records.

Back then, just like today, money paved the way to freedom.

History hasn’t left any clues on whatever happened to Fire Fart, but I suspect he changed his name and led a quite life somewhere far from the sea.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

 

Return of the Blood Moon: Rare 'Selenelion' greets viewers

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 15, 2014, file photo, the moon turns an orange hue during a total lunar eclipse in the sky above Phoenix. On Wednesday morning, Oct. 8, 2014, North Americans will have prime viewing of a full lunar eclipse, especially in the West. The total eclipse will last an hour, until sunrise on the East Coast. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

In this Tuesday, April 15, 2014, file photo, the moon turns an orange hue during a total lunar eclipse in the sky above Phoenix. On Wednesday morning, Oct. 8, 2014, North Americans will have prime viewing of a full lunar eclipse, especially in the West.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)                                          

                                               Good Day World!

Today was the big day…and night. Sort of.

This morning – depending on where you live - there was a rare opportunity to see the total eclipse of the moon and the rising sun simultaneously.

In the East Coast of the United States, the moon was low on the horizon while the West Coast saw the moon higher in the sky at 6:25 a.m.

The little-used name for this effect is called a "selenelion," a phenomenon that celestial geometry says cannot happen. It does anyway. And if you were lucky you saw it!

EXPLAINING WHAT HAPPENED

A total lunar eclipse is when a full moon passes behind Earth's shadow. The moon, sun and Earth are in alignment and will appear red, hence the nickname "blood moon."

Interestingly, the blood moon will include shades of turquoise, making the total lunar eclipse that much more colorful.

"During a lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the moon passes through the stratosphere, where it is reddened by scattering. However, light passing through the upper stratosphere penetrates the ozone layer, which absorbs red light and actually makes the passing light ray bluer," according to Richard Keen of the University of Colorado in a recent interview.

North America and most of South America were able to view the eclipse at moonset while India, Asia and Australia viewed the eclipse at moonrise. It wasn’t visible in Africa and Europe.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pot is already technically legal in Alaska: Full legalization sought in November along with Oregon

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Good Day World!

I was looking down the road again and discovered that Alaska and Oregon have something in common this November.

Both states are looking to legalize marijuana.

Oregon voters will be considering  Measure 91, an initiative that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Alaska also has an initiative to legalize weed, which would be the first time the plant was sellable and taxable in the state. Believe it or not, pot was already technically legal in Alaska almost four decades ago!

As the Washington Post recently reported, “Alaska’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the right to possess, cultivate and consume small amounts of marijuana in one's personal home in 1975.”

The Washington Post article also suggests that ruling has faced some opposition over the years, and has been placed into legal limbo from time to time due to various ballot and legislative challenges.

But Alaska courts have repeatedly and consistently upheld the notion that Constitutional privacy protections cover the personal possession, cultivation and use of marijuana in Alaska.” (source)

Jason Brandeis, University of Alaska law professor, concluded in what the Washington Post calls “ an exhaustive history of Alaska marijuana law," that Alaskans can possess up to four ounces of pot “in their homes for personal use,” to this day.

They can also cultivate up to 25 plants under state law, according to Brandeis, but—as remains true anywhere in the U.S.—they remain at risk of federal prosecution.

SO HOW HAS LEGALIZATION PLAYED OUT IN COLORADO AND WASHINGTON?

Both a  Drug Policy Alliance six-month status report and a Brookings Center  report on Colorado's situation have also found that legalization there is proceeding relatively smoothly, with few bumps.

“In Washington state, the reviews are fewer since retail stores just began operating in July (although Brookings has issued a  report), but customers bought $3.2 million worth of legal weed that first month, with sales doubling to more than $6.9 million in August.

More than another $6 million worth had been sold in the first three weeks of September.” (source)

Will Alaska and Oregon join Colorado, and Washington, in reaping the benefits of legal marijuana? We’ll find out next month.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

 

Monday, October 6, 2014

A nostalgic Goodbye to Paul Revere, and Hello (again) to Christine McVie

                     Good Day World!

Goodbye, and hello, in the world of rock.

Paul Revere, the organist (photo above) and leader of the Raiders rock band has stopped making music at 76 years old.

Roger Hart, manager for Paul Revere and the Raiders, said he died Saturday at his home in Garden Valley, Idaho, from cancer.

Revere, born Paul Revere Dick, became known as "the madman of rock and roll" for his theatrical colonial wardrobe and infectious onstage persona with the band.

The group launched its career in 1963 with a popular rendition of Richard Berry's "Louie, Louie" before releasing its own hits, such as "Kicks," "Hungry" and "Good Thing."

The band's biggest smash came in 1971 with "Indian Reservation." It was my favorite song by the group.

Goodbye Paul. You’ll always rock in Rocking Roll Heaven!

Hello – again - Christine McVie!

Been awhile.

All of the members of legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac have been reunited.

With the return of former member Christine McVie, who quit the group to live a quiet life in England in 1998, the dynamic band is ready to rock another generation.

The keyboard player and vocalist played her first gig in 16 years in Minneapolis a week ago, when the group kicked off their U.S. tour.

Mick Fleetwood reportedly said. "It's almost like it never happened that she went away."

Between now and December 20, all five members of Fleetwood Mac will be on their 24-date tour, including a special TODAY concert on Thursday Oct. 9.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Man unwittingly invites fugitive in home & prisoner escapes from jail, is gone 2 days before anyone notices!

Good Day World!

I hope you’re having a groovy Sunday.

Here’s two odd short stories that will hopefully amuse you as much as the photo on the left:

The first one:

What happens when a 60-year old man kindly invites a stranger inside his house to have lunch with him, not knowing a manhunt for the stranger is being conducted in his own neighborhood?

Some people can fade away without even being noticed.

The second story I’ve selected for you is about a prisoner who escaped from jail and no one even noticed him missing for two days! No, really! How did that happen?

TOO TRUSTING?

A Silicon Valley homeowner unwittingly welcomed a fugitive into his home and shared a meal with the wanted man as California law enforcement officers canvassed the neighborhood in a manhunt, police said.

Police in Palo Alto launched the search after receiving an emergency call on Monday about a possible fraudulent bank transaction linked to a man wanted in Oklahoma for a sex crime with a minor, the city's police department said.

Officers tried to nab 35-year-old Dominique Tabb of San Francisco at the bank, but he hopped a fence and ran into a residential neighborhood where officers began a yard-to-yard search, Palo Alto Detective Sergeant Brian Philip said.

A homeowner in his 60s saw Tabb in his yard with some minor scrapes, and Tabb told him that assailants had beaten him up and that he was trying to escape, police said.

Believing his story, the homeowner invited Tabb into his home and they shared a meal. Find out what happened. Read the full story at Reuters

NO ONE NOTICES INMATE AT PRISON IS MISSING FOR 2 DAYS

An inmate's escape from a jail in Washington state went undetected for two days last week until the man's defense lawyer stopped for a visit and he couldn't be found.

Rhyan Vasquez, 19, was back in custody in Marysville City Jail, north of Seattle, facing a possible escape charge along with a previous robbery allegation, The Daily Herald reported.

His absence wasn't noticed until last Wednesday when his lawyer asked to see him, court papers said.

Jail staff checked surveillance video and saw that Vasquez had backed out a door and into a hallway on Sept. 22 while a group of inmates was returning from a Bible study class held in a visitation area.

Vasquez was booked back into jail Friday. He was tracked down by two detectives who questioned his associates, said Robert Lamoureux, a police spokesman.

Defense lawyer James Feldman says another attorney from his office was representing Vasquez in the municipal case. That lawyer wasn't available Tuesday.

Feldman said all he knew was the lawyer went to the jail and Vasquez wasn't there.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Back In The Public Eye: Ben Carson Pushes Hydroxychloroquine

The man who once said the Pyramids were built to store grain is back in the limelight with another ridiculous  claim: Hydroxychloroquine s...