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Posts from — June 2012

A Sad Day

One of my neighbors, a wonderfully kind person, died unexpectedly today of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was a Christian is the best sense of the term – nice to everyone, kind to animals, got along with everyone it is possible to get along with in the neighborhood. She was truly committed to forgiving and forgetting offenses directed towards her. She didn’t talk about it, she lived it. I would get extremely angry about people abusing her trust, but she just moved on.

She was more than a decade younger than me, and that has an effect when you get older.

Most people will ignore her passing because she wasn’t rich or famous, but they are missing out. She was better than rich or famous – she was a very good human being and there aren’t nearly enough of them on the planet.

June 7, 2012   9 Comments

Thoughts On The Day

On this day in 1944 Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, the largest seaborne invasion in history, the beginning of the final phase of World War II in Europe.

The firefighters on the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire in New Mexico have the fire 30% contained, and are releasing resources to be available for other fires with higher priority. Remediation efforts are beginning in the burned areas, but it is acknowledged that only rainfall is going to finally put the fire out.

Apparently the people in Wisconsin decided they would rather have their governor removed by state and/or Federal prosecutors, than by their votes. You can fool better than 50% of the voters if you have enough money to spend on media buys. That’s how Florida ended up with the Fraudster-in-Chief, so I can’t fault the ‘Cheeseheads’ for their decision. Apparently the iron rule for recalls it that it is only valid for removing boring Democratic governors.

June 6, 2012   Comments Off on Thoughts On The Day

The Misogyny Continues

The ABC reports on the Church’s latest target: Nun’s sex talk raises the Vatican’s ire

The Vatican has denounced an American nun after she wrote an award-winning book on sexual ethics, which includes topics such as gay marriage and masturbation.

The Vatican’s department responsible for doctrine says the book, written by respected Yale University theologian Sister Margaret Farley, contradicts Catholic teaching and must not be used by Catholic educators.

Published in 2006, Just Love, says gay marriage can reduce hatred, rejection and stigmatisation of gays.

But the Vatican’s doctrinal department has issued a long rebuttal to this and other arguments.

The department says “the Church teaches that the respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

A minor point but the Vatican doesn’t have any say in the area of ‘legal recognition’, that is in the hands of individual governments and is a political, not religious decision.

The major effect of this latest assault on women is to push the book to the number one sales position for its genre at Amazon. There’s nothing like controversy to drive sales.

In a related note, an theologian who was at Vatican II notes that opposition to birth control is not settled Catholic doctrine, as claimed by some Bishops. Pope Paul VI withdrew the issue before the Council could deal with it, so it isn’t ‘written in stone’.

For some reason two verses come to mind: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” and “… why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” I seem to remember that the guy who said them was sort of important to the Church.

June 6, 2012   5 Comments

People Still Dream In Other Places

One of those places is Switzerland, where the Piccard family lives. [Jean-Luc Picard of ST-TNG was named for this family.]

Auguste Piccard went higher in a balloon than anyone had ever done. His son, Jacques, went lower into the Marianna Trench. Jacques’ son, Bertrand, is following up his success in being on the crew of the first balloon flight to circumnavigate the Earth, to fly a solar-powered aircraft.

The BBC reports that the Solar plane en route from Spain to Morocco

A solar-powered plane is on its way from Spain to Morocco in a bid to finish the second leg of its transatlantic journey.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard is set to land in the Moroccan capital Rabat by Tuesday evening.

The Solar Impulse, the size of a jumbo jet, is powered by 12,000 solar cells turning four electrical motors.

The 2,500km-trip (1,550 miles), begun in Switzerland in May, is described as a rehearsal for a world tour in 2014 .

Made of carbon fibre, the giant plane is the size of an Airbus A340 but only weighs as much as an average family car, according to its creators.

The Solar Impulse Website is very well done, providing a cockpit view when the aircraft is in flight. [I saw the landing on the site as it occurred.]

This aircraft will never win races, as it is essentially a powered glider, but it gets there without anything but sunshine. At the end of the flight the battery indicator showed 100% charge after about 19 hours in the air.

I assume they will be flying to an airport on the coast of West Africa and then probably to the Azores, before making the long flight across the Atlantic.

The Piccards still dream.

June 5, 2012   5 Comments

Ignorant Git

McClatchy reports that the current head of the IAEA has put his ignorance on open display [OK, so that’s not their interpretation, but mine]:IAEA chief says Iran may have cleaned site of nuclear weapons test

LOS ANGELES — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said publicly for the first time Monday that the U.N. agency suspects Iran has been cleaning away traces of a 2003 nuclear weapons test ahead of possible inspections of the military facility south of Tehran.

IAEA Director Yukiya Amano told the 35-nation board of directors gathered in Vienna that he will meet Iranian officials on Friday to push for his inspectors’ access to the Parchin military complex, according to a text posted on the agency’s website. He expressed concern that evidence of prohibited weapons development activity was being cleaned away.

You can not ‘clean away’ nuclear activity. If it were possible there wouldn’t be continuing restrictions around Chernobyl. If the Iranians figured out how to do it, they would stop mucking about with their own nukes and oil, because they could make a mint cleaning up after nuclear accidents and testing around the world. They would be working full-time in Japan.

The Parchin site is military, and the US and USSR insisted on excluding military sites from IAEA inspections under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The IAEA needs permission to look at the site because of the US, not Iran.

Mr. Amano is a lawyer and professional diplomat, not a physicist, but he keeps making statements that ignore the basic facts of the process his agency is supposed to monitor. He might consider taking a few courses on the subject, or at least consult the technical people at the agency before making absurd claims.

This sounds like an attempt to preempt negative findings when the IAEA doesn’t find anything at the site. Then they’ll say that the Iranians succeeded in ‘cleaning it up before the inspectors got there.’

Compare this with ‘Saddam moved all of the WMDs out of the country before we got there.’ That crap got us into a very expensive war without purpose. Let’s not make that mistake again.

June 5, 2012   Comments Off on Ignorant Git

Whitewater-Baldy Complex

Whitewater-Baldy Complex

Information from the current Whitewater-Baldy Complex InciWeb Page.

This is the largest fire in New Mexico history and is occurring to the East of the area burned by last year’s Wallow Fire, the largest fire in Arizona history. Much of the activity is in Catron County, New Mexico, which was singed by the Wallow Fire. It begin as two separate lightning-caused wildfires in remote areas that merged to form the Complex.

Currently the fire is about half the size of the Wallow Fire, but the terrain is so rugged in the Gila National Forest that firefighters have to set up outside of the fire area and back-burn to create effective lines. It would be too dangerous to directly attack the fire.

The area has been drought-stricken and the daily humidity is remaining in single digits. There is so much dry fuel available that when the wind picks up, the fire makes a run.

It is probable that the fire will not really be under control until the rain starts in July, if it does this year.

  • Date Started: Baldy 5/9/12, Whitewater 5/16/12
  • Location: Gila National Forest, New Mexico
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Size: 255,024 acres [398.5 miles² 1032 km²] based on infrared data
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 1,191 including 14 hotshot crews and 12 hand crews
  • Equipment: 7 dozers, 63 engines, 30 watertenders
  • Aircraft: 10 helicopters
  • Incident Commander: Tony Sciacca, Southwest Area Command Team
  • Percent Contained: 18%
  • Fuels Involved: Timber, mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, piñon/juniper and grass fuels are within the fire perimeter along with heavy concentrations of down and dead fuel.

[For the latest information click on the Fire symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]

June 4, 2012   Comments Off on Whitewater-Baldy Complex

The Neo-Pharisees

Defenders of the Catholic Church complain that people don’t talk about all of the ‘good things’ that the Church does, and emphasize the problems. The majority of the ‘good things’ are projects by Nuns, and the Church leaders obviously don’t think they are very important or they wouldn’t be attacking the Nuns.

As CNN notes the American Nuns are not going down without a fight:

(CNN) – The leadership representing most of America’s nuns came out swinging Friday against the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, in the face of charges from the Vatican that the nuns are espousing “radical feminism” and straying from church teaching.

The Vatican’s criticism of the American nuns has “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization,” the Leadership Conference of Women Religious – which represents about 80% of American nuns – said in a statement Friday.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious said Friday that the assessment “was based on unsubstantiated accusations and (was) the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency.”

“Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise (the nuns’) ability to fulfill their mission,” the statement continued.

As Digby notes the Vatican anti-abortion stance allows no exceptions, even for the life of a nine-year-old. In the Church’s official judgement, raping your step daughter can be forgiven, but not saving the life of your daughter.

Charlie Pierce noted that newly public documents revealed that Cardinal Dolan, the current leader of US Bishops, paid priests who molested children up to $20,000 to leave the priesthood while Bishop of Milwaukee. Of course, the Church doesn’t excommunicate child-molesters.

Steve Bates noted that at least one Bishop is saying that Catholic hospitals will limit themselves to serving only Catholics, if they are required to abide by US laws and regulations.

Ellroon notes that some are already following that path as a Catholic hospital in New Jersey denied a gay man his HIV medication because he was ‘going against G*d’s will.’

The majority of my first cousins, and my niece and nephews were all nominally Catholic, but almost none of them are still in the Church. A lot of them are still very Christian, but it doesn’t involve the Vatican.

June 4, 2012   8 Comments

Internet Defense League

In response to the recent attacks on the autonomy of the Internet by the media conglomerates through Congress, several groups have decided to create a warning system: the Internet Defense League.

As was explained to CNN:

“It’s a cat signal because we see the cat as the symbol of the Internet,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-director of the nonprofit Fight for the Future, which helped organize recent piracy legislation protests and is behind the new site. “There’s this academic theory … that talks about if you ban the ability of people to share cat photos, they’ll start protesting en masse.”

Yes, I Can Has Cheezburger? is one of the groups involved.

They are developing software that can be incorporated into your site to trigger the ‘cat signal’ to warn that the media cons are again buying Congresscritters to change the ‘Net to boost their profits while screwing consumers and the people who actually are creative.

June 3, 2012   8 Comments

More On Voting

It must be the heat because for the second time in a few weeks the editors of the Libertoonian Local Puppy Trainer have published an editorial that agrees with me. This one is on the changes in Florida’s election laws. [This is getting creepy.]

In another case of the headline not matching the story, the Miami Herald published Investigation of two non-citizen voters may bolster Scott’s fight with feds which contains this information:

On Friday, county elections supervisors showed so little faith in the state-led purge that their state association said they shouldn’t cooperate. The announcement came just hours after the U.S. Justice Department ordered Florida to stop its effort citing two federal voting-rights laws, partly because the purge could disproportionately affect minorities.

The 13 total noncitizen voters identified so far on the Miami-Dade rolls are minuscule compared to the 492 people identified as citizens and, therefore, lawful voters.

Of the more than 1,600 potential noncitizens in Miami-Dade; about 65 percent have cast ballots. About 72 percent have cast ballots of the 262 identified in Broward.

In all, the Florida Division of Elections has identified nearly 2,700 voters who may not be eligible to vote because they are not U.S. citizens. But, supervisors say, the vast majority found have turned out to be citizens.

Excuse me, but how does a purge of 1600 voters, of which only 13 have been determined to actually be non-citizens justify what the Fraudster-in-Chief did? The Federal case is bolstered by this information, not Scott’s.

This is just like his waste of tax dollars on the drug testing program that showed that poor people can’t afford to buy drugs. The thinking that resulted in that give away to drug testing companies, was based on personal prejudice towards the people at the bottom of the economic scale, the ‘everyone knows that they’re poor because they are junkies’ excuse for not caring about them.

As a Florida tax-payer I’m sick and tired of watching public money wasted for programs based on Republican mythology.

June 2, 2012   4 Comments

Latest Results In The War On Voting

The Florida Republicans suffered two defeats in their War On Voting™.

First, the Miami Herald reports that the DOJ remembered it is supposed to uphold Federal laws:

The Justice Department ordered Florida’s elections division to halt a systematic effort to find and purge the state’s voter rolls of noncitizen voters.

Florida’s effort appears to violate both the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities, and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act – which governs voter purges – T. Christian Herren Jr., the Justice Department’s lead civil rights lawyer, wrote in a detailed two-page letter sent late Thursday night.

State officials said they were reviewing the letter. But they indicated they might fight DOJ over its interpretation of federal law and expressed frustration that President Barack Obama’s administration has stonewalled the state’s noncitizen voter hunt for nine months.

Florida is on the Federal watch list for its history of suppressing minority voters, so changes to election laws require approval before taking effect, and purging the voters list can’t take place within 90 days of an election, which was May 16. These are not new requirements if you look at the year of the affected laws. These only affect the election to Federal offices.

In another loss, Federal Court Enjoins Oppressive Florida Rule Designed to Make Voter Registration Difficult.

A law suit was filed in the Federal Court in Tallahassee by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and Rock the Vote over the changes the Republicans made to the election law covering the registration process. One of the first people to run afoul of the change in the law was a teacher who was trying to get students to register and vote if they were eligible.

Mustang Bobby also noted that Florida Election Laws Get Federal Attention, and he has different sources, so the emphasis is different.

June 1, 2012   7 Comments

Hurricane Season Guesses

The Bill Gray 2012 Guess:

The Colorado State University forecast team has increased its predictions for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

Forecasters now call for 13 named storms, with five of those expected to become hurricanes and two of those to become major hurricanes.

The two pre-season storms, Alberto and Beryl, are included in the revised prediction.

The team still anticipates slightly below-average activity due to cooling of the Atlantic and the potential development of El Nino.

Jeff Masters provides a round-up of the majority of guesses plus a lot of technical information that is being used to support the forecasts.

Looking at the latest Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures I don’t see any major pool of warm water, i.e. an El Niño, but the La Niña [a pool of cool water in the Pacific off Peru] just faded, so it may happen in the future.

Overall the Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature are down a bit in the area where most hurricanes are born, which is good news. Not so good news for the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Maine is that their SSTs are higher than normal, increasing the risk of something nasty hitting them.

June 1, 2012   Comments Off on Hurricane Season Guesses

June First

June 1st:

The official start of the hurricane season.

1495 – Friar John Cor records the first known batch of scotch whisky.
1660 – Mary Dyer is hanged in Boston, Massachusetts, for defying a law banning Quakers from the colony. She is considered by some to be the last religious martyr in what would become the United States.
1890 – The United States Census Bureau begins using Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine to count census returns.
1967 – The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released.
1980 – The Cable News Network (CNN) begins broadcasting.

1563 – Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, English statesman and spymaster (d. 1612)
1780 – Carl von Clausewitz, Prussian general (d. 1831)
1804 – Mikhail Glinka, Russian composer (d. 1857)

For some reason I didn’t make the list.

June 1, 2012   6 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Early Education

Friday Cat Blogging

Where is it?

[Editor: The lighter of the tabbie kittens is attempting to locate the grackle that is making all the noise.]

Friday Ark

June 1, 2012   9 Comments