Wednesday, August 11, 2010

News That Matters - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Good Wednesday Morning,

Before anything else I'd like to thank CCs and FGs love for Sarah Palin. Because of them I've placed a "shrine" to her on the News That Matters home page and visitation to the site jumped by ~30% in just a few days time. I'm thinking.... a shrine to Glenn Beck is next.

Do you know what would be the most important social improvement of the 21st Century? If milk companies would standardize the coloring of their caps. You know, if everyone used white for whole milk, blue for 2% and so on...

We need rain. We're currently in an "abnormally dry" phase and 36% of the northeast is affected, mostly along the coast. And there hasn't been a hurricane or mid-Atlantic tropical storm either. I've been watching the trees of late and they've been browning and just the other day some began to drop leaves. Yesterday afternoon it was like fall along some sections of Peekskill Hollow Road as I was driving back from Putnam Valley.

All on a sudden, though we can surmise all the negative press had something to do with it, lawyers for Senator Leibell withdrew their complaints regarding MaryEllen Odell's primary signatures meaning that we have a race on September 14th. I mean, it was looking pretty bad for the Senator, him bullying the Board of Elections and all, calling it a "pigsty".

Friday brings us our weekly "Things To Do" edition and I don't have all that much to do. Send your events in today or early tomorrow.

Republican Congressman John Boehner believes that repealing the 14th Amendment of the Constitution would probably be a good thing. Considering the Bush/Cheney administration has already pretty much gutted the 4th and 5th Amendments I don't see much of a problem here. In fact, maybe we should just gut the whole darned things and start all over? Here's what the 14th says:
Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5.

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Dan Schreunder
Dan Schreunder, a former president of the Aryan Nations' California chapter is running for the school board of the Rialto Unified School District in southern California. Resident Bobby Walker says, "I don't think anyone that is doing something like that should run for an office like that because it's not going to teach our kids anything better than hate," according to a published report on KABC in Los Angeles. But I disagree. Dan's run is what democracy is all about and I'd much rather have him and his views out in the open where they can be seen and learned and studied than in the dark where they fester.
Mr. Schreunder's entry into the race has caused a bit of a media uproar down  there in La La Land and according to the LA Times Mr. S said, "The Jew Media is really doing a hatchet job on me since they found out I'm running for school board and in Aryan Nations,"

The Jew media? I guess that's me! I don't think Roger Ailes or Rupert Murdoch are Jewish... are they?
While we're talking about hate, let's talk just a little bit about the recent ruling that found California's "Prop 8" unconstitutional. I'm willing to bet that if you're only getting your news from FOX or from other TV and new outlets you probably do not know why the judge ruled as he did but it's really quite simple. The central tenet of his ruling was the 1967 case, Loving vs Virginia, which ended anti-miscegenation laws in the 16 states that were still living in the 1860s. What the court said then about marriage is this:
"Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

Assemblyman Greg Ball once said:

“I  will not pander to an extreme Liberal agenda by supporting “Extra” rights for gays in order to be politically correct, while avoiding larger criminal issues for the protection of all of our citizens.  Furthermore, I do not believe that the homosexual lifestyle should be promoted as an acceptable alternative of living in our schools and classrooms.”

"Fuck You!" comes to mind. But this being a family column I'll just let you re-read the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling above and apply that to today.

There is no question that social Luddites, those so insecure about their personal religious beliefs are willing to drag this nation into a Christian version of Sharia Law, will take this case all the way to the Supreme Court, where once again the court will rule on the side of freedom from religion and from bigotry and for equal rights, equal protection and common sense.

So, if you are Christian and continue to deny me rights as a citizen of this nation based on "The Bible", here's something else the bible says:

1 Timothy 2:11-12
 11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

Got that girls? Silent. And I do expect you to walk several paces behind your masters.

And now, The News:
  1. How to Be Water-wise When Planting
  2. Rare Orchid Discovered in Orange County, NY
  3. Planets Align for the Perseid Meteor Shower
  4. How does stoning work in Iran?
  5. What it Says About Us When a 17-Month-Old Boy Is Beaten to Death for "Acting Like a Girl"

How to Be Water-wise When Planting

by Plant Talk at the New York Botanical Gardens

While it is edifying to talk about ways to reduce the need for supplemental irrigation as I did last week in my blog post that explored drought-tolerant plants, it is all water under the bridge if the beautiful xeric garden that is planted isn’t properly maintained.

Here are some tips to get you going in the right direction. Many of the suggestions are common sense, but I am generally so anxious to get the plants in the ground and to watch them start growing, that I often need these reminders myself.

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Rare Orchid Discovered in Orange County, NY

Schunnemunk Mountain State Park in Orange County shelters the threatened flower

After decades of absence, a threatened white-flowered orchid known as the small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) has resurfaced on New York soil in Schunnemunk Mountain State Park. It was spotted in the Orange County park by a botanist for the NYS Natural Heritage Program while conducting botanical surveys for other rare plants.

"We're extremely excited about this discovery in our state park system and view this as an opportunity to provide a safe haven for the rarest of plant species in North America," New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner, Carol Ash, said. "The discovery of a flower thought to have vanished from New York illustrates that State Parks are not only wonderful places for people to explore, they also shelter an incredible diversity of plants and animals in their boundaries."

This small orchid is listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and endangered by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. It has not been seen in New York since 1976, when two flowers were photographed in a swamp in Onondaga County. That area has since been flooded by beaver and overgrown by invasive plants, resulting in the elimination of the orchid population.

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Planets Align for the Perseid Meteor Shower

August 5, 2010:  You know it's a good night when a beautiful alignment of planets is the second best thing that's going to happen.

Thursday, August 12th, is such a night.

The show begins at sundown when Venus, Saturn, Mars and the crescent Moon pop out of the western twilight in tight conjunction. All four heavenly objects will fit within a circle about 10 degrees in diameter, beaming together through the dusky colors of sunset. No telescope is required to enjoy this naked-eye event: sky map.

PerseusThe planets will hang together in the western sky until 10 pm or so. When they leave, following the sun below the horizon, you should stay, because that is when the Perseid meteor shower begins. From 10 pm until dawn, meteors will flit across the starry sky in a display that's even more exciting than a planetary get-together.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 133 years the huge comet swings through the inner solar system and leaves behind a trail of dust and gravel. When Earth passes through the debris, specks of comet-stuff hit the atmosphere at 140,000 mph and disintegrate in flashes of light. These meteors are called Perseids because they fly out of the constellation Perseus.

Swift-Tuttle's debris zone is so wide, Earth spends weeks inside it. Indeed, we are in the outskirts now, and sky watchers are already reporting a trickle of late-night Perseids. The trickle could turn into a torrent between August 11th and 13th when Earth passes through the heart of the debris trail.

2010 is a good year for Perseids because the Moon won't be up during the midnight-to-dawn hours of greatest activity. Lunar glare can wipe out a good meteor shower, but that won't be the case this time.

As Perseus rises and the night deepens, meteor rates will increase. For sheer numbers, the best time to look is during the darkest hours before dawn on Friday morning, Aug. 13th, when most observers will see dozens of Perseids per hour.

For best results, get away from city lights. The darkness of the countryside multiplies the visible meteor rate 3- to 10-fold. A good dark sky will even improve the planetary alignment, allowing faint Mars and Saturn to make their full contribution to the display. Many families plan camping trips to coincide with the Perseids. The Milky Way arching over a mountain campground provides the perfect backdrop for a meteor shower.

Enjoy the show!

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

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The World is not a pretty Place

How does stoning work in Iran?

By Christopher BeamPosted Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, at 6:34 PM ET

[Ed note: If you'd like to see actual footage of a stoning click here. Ignore the anti-Muslim editorial comments and just enjoy the show. This video includes a judicial flogging at about 5:18 and the stoning of two woman at about 6:00.]

Must stoners use special rocks? Click image to expand.Must stoners use special rocks?Brazil has offered asylum to Sakineh Ashtiani, an Iranian woman who was convicted of adultery in 2006 and sentenced to death by stoning. A few weeks ago, the sentence was "temporarily halted" by Iranian officials, but Ashtiani still faces the death penalty. When stonings happen, how do they work?

First, you get buried. Iran's Islamic Penal Code states that men convicted of adultery are to be buried in the ground up to their waists; women, up to their chests. If the conviction is based on the prisoner's confession, the law says, the presiding judge casts the first stone. If the conviction is based on witness testimony, the witnesses throw the first stones, then the judge, then everyone else—generally other court officials and security forces. Stones must be of medium size, according to the penal code: Not so big that one or two could kill the person, but not so small that you would call it a pebble. In other words, about the size of a tangerine. The whole process takes less than an hour.

One possible upside of getting stoned is that people who manage to escape from the hole are allowed to go free. But this applies only to those who have confessed to their crimes. (If you were sentenced to stoning on the basis of witness testimony, then digging out of the hole does you no good.) In any case, it's very difficult for anyone to escape the punishment: Prisoners are wrapped in a white cloth sack with their hands tied.

Stonings in Iran used to be public. Between 1983 and about 2000, anyone could attend and throw rocks. After that, public outcry against the practice grew, and stonings began to be carried out in private, often at a cemetery. In 2002, the head of Iran's judiciary issued a moratorium on stoning sentences, but that was more of a guideline rather than a change to the law, so the practice continued even as top officials denied it. In the summer of 2009, a parliamentary commission recommended removing the stoning law from the books, but parliament has yet to revoke it formally. (You can see disturbing NSFW footage of a 1994 public stoning here.)

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What it Says About Us When a 17-Month-Old Boy Is Beaten to Death for "Acting Like a Girl"

Huffington Post

At approximately 8:25 p.m. last Sunday night, the New York State Police on Long Island logged a 911 call about a toddler in cardiac arrest. The boy, 17-month-old Roy Jones, was rushed from the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, N.Y. to Southampton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.

According to authorities, the toddler had endured a savage beating. His tiny body had been repeatedly punched with closed fists and grabbed by the neck. By the time 911 had been called at dusk, he was already in cardiac arrest from the sheer brutality of the assault and it was too late to save his life.

Charged with manslaughter in the first degree and held without bail is the toddler's mother's live-in boyfriend, 20-year-old Pedro Jones, who was babysitting. The pair lived together on Shinnecock Nation tribal land, though Jones himself was not a member of the tribe. They were reportedly to marry, and Jones called the toddler "my baby," though Roy was not, in fact his baby.

"I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl," Jones explained. "I never struck that kid that hard before. A one-time mistake, and I am going to do 20 years."

He told troopers that the little boy had been too feminine and that he'd been trying to toughen Roy up by literally beating the life out of him.

"I'm sorry," he said "That's my baby. I loved him to death."

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