Archive for the ‘History’ Category
Guns & Ammo editors retired and fired – way too rational about constitutional rights and responsibilities!
The U.S. magazine Guns & Ammo has fired a contributing editor and a top editor said he will retire early after a backlash over a pro-gun control column.
The magazine, based in Los Angeles, fired contributing editor Dick Metcalf after a column he wrote for the December 2013 issue, arguing there should be some government regulation of firearms, provoked a backlash that including threats to cancel subscriptions…
“Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement,” Metcalf wrote. “The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”
In the editorial, titled “Let’s Talk Limits,” Metcalf said U.S. citizens “have a right to keep and bear arms but I do not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly…”
“Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gun writer, but his association with ‘Guns & Ammo’ has officially ended,” Bequette wrote, saying it was a mistake to publish Metcalf’s column.
“I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple,” he wrote. “I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.”
What passes for principles, nowadays. He retired effective immediately.
BITD, when I still spent time hunting and recreational shooting it was possible to have a sensible discussion about constitutional rights and responsibilities. In fact, Guns and Ammo was a regular worthwhile read. I haven’t peered inside a copy in decades; but, it surely sounds as if it has joined the Holy Fatherland Church of NRA – heretics not allowed.
The carp’s most important endorsement
Despite a slippery record, a 20-pound carp is running for office in Ann Arbor, Mich., as a write in candidate, the “candidate’s” campaign publicity indicates.
Although its publicist is a mystery, Mlive.com reported Sunday lawn signs and Internet publicity indicate voters in the city have a new option when they go to the polls Tuesday, to write in their vote for a “20-pound carp,” even though the fish has destruction of public property on its record.
The fish, Mlive.com reported, was removed from a pond in West Park in November 2012, because it was destroying the pond’s vegetation. It was then released into the Huron River, where it apparently developed a taste for politics.
Mlive.com reported the fish describes itself as a bottom feeder who is adept at using social media to get out its talking points.
The carp says it is focusing its campaign on the city’s fourth district, where Jack Eaton, a Democrat, is running unopposed.
“I’m amused. I have a sense of humor and I think it’s funny. I consider a 20-pound carp to be a substantial opponent and I wish him the best,” Eaton said.
Given the competition, we can assume the carp to be a Republican. The remaining question then – is the carp a conservative, libertarian or Tea Party neo-Confederate?
The South Lawn of the White House is decorated with ghosts and the facade with spiders, cobwebs and pumpkins for Halloween, where US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be welcoming trick-or-treating local children and children of military families…
I’m surprised the White House wasn’t picketed by religious fundamentalists who disapprove of Halloween and the president.
Alan Grayson really pisses off the whole range of useless politicians – from corrupt to cowardly.
In the 1970s, Congressman Otis Pike of New York chaired a special congressional committee to investigate abuses by the American so-called “intelligence community” – the spies. After the investigation, Pike commented:
It took this investigation to convince me that I had always been told lies, to make me realize that I was tired of being told lies.
I’m tired of the spies telling lies, too.
Pike’s investigation initiated one of the first congressional oversight debates for the vast and hidden collective of espionage agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Before the Pike Commission, Congress was kept in the dark about them – a tactic designed to thwart congressional deterrence of the sometimes illegal and often shocking activities carried out by the “intelligence community”. Today, we are seeing a repeat of this professional voyeurism by our nation’s spies, on an unprecedented and pervasive scale.
Recently, the US House of Representatives voted on an amendment – offered by Representatives Justin Amash and John Conyers – that would have curbed the NSA’s omnipresent and inescapable tactics. Despite furious lobbying by the intelligence industrial complex and its allies, and four hours of frantic and overwrought briefings by the NSA’s General Keith Alexander, 205 of 422 Representatives voted for the amendment.
Though the amendment barely failed, the vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, “oversight” has become “overlook“…
Many of us worry that Congressional Intelligence Committees are more loyal to the “intelligence community” that they are tasked with policing, than to the Constitution. And the House Intelligence Committee isn’t doing anything to assuage our concerns.
RTFA for details. If you pay attention to politics on any reasonable scale, you will not be surprised. But, Grayson’s op-ed piece is useful in the battle against subservience and collaboration in Congress.
South Dakota ranchers crushed by storms – ain’t any aid coming – courtesy of the right wingers they elected
The cattle lay in heaps of tangled hooves, collapsed against fences and submerged in creeks. Some had curled up behind hay bales, hiding from 70 mile-per-hour winds that scattered herds for miles, struck by hypothermia weeks before they were scheduled to go to market.
In one of the worst blizzards to hit western South Dakota, ferocious winds and snow as deep as five feet killed tens of thousands of livestock and damaged the area’s economy. More than a week later, many of the cows remain unburied…
Delayed by more inclement weather and ground too soggy for tractors, Gary Cammack, like many ranchers in this farming community just east of the Black Hills, hopes to begin the gruesome work of cleaning up the carcasses this week. But while state and county agencies have helped clear roadsides and have provided burial pits, the federal government shutdown has only complicated the crisis…
Ranchers looking for guidance on how to document their losses with the federal Farm Service Agency, whose workers have been furloughed, are, as some here say, “plumb out of luck.” And the stalling of a farm bill in Congress has left many families skeptical about whether disaster relief will ever come.
State officials estimate a death toll of as many as 20,000 cows. An official number may not be known for weeks as producers continue to search for livestock. But the loss has become about more than the economic devastation, which could linger for years and put some producers out of business. South Dakotans are fiercely self-reliant, but they now feel invisible as they ask federal officials to lend a hand.
The historic term is “hoist by your own petard”. You helped build the problem. Now you can whine about the absence of a solution. How many of these ranchers voted for Republicans, Tea Party Republicans?
Plaster handprints from kindergarten, handprint turkeys, handprints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood — are all part of modern life, but ancient people also left their handprints on rocks and cave walls. Now, a Penn State anthropologist can determine the sex of some of the people who left their prints, and the majority of them were women.
The assumption has been that hand prints, whether stencils — paint blown around the hand — or actual paint-dipped prints, were produced by men because other images on cave walls were often hunting scenes. The smaller handprints were assumed to be adolescent boys.
Dean Snow, emeritus professor of anthropology, came across the work of John Manning, a British biologist who about 10 years ago tried to use the relationships of various hand measurements to determine not only sex, but such things as sexual preference or susceptibility to heart disease. Snow wondered if he could apply this method to the handprints left in cave sites in France and Spain.
“Manning probably went way beyond what the data could infer, but the basic observation that men and women have differing finger ratios was interesting,” said Snow. “I thought here was a neat little one off science problem that can be solved by applications of archaeological science…”
Snow found he needed a two-step process for the modern hands to successfully differentiate men from women. He first measured the overall size of the hand using five different measurements. This separated the adult male hands from the rest. Snow found that step one was 79 percent successful in determining sex, but adolescent males were classified as female.
Step two compares the ratios of the index finger to the ring finger and the index finger to the pinky to distinguish between adolescent males and females. For the known hands, the success rate, though statistically significant, was only 60 percent. There is too much overlap between males and females in modern populations.
“I thought the fact that we had so much overlap in the modern world would make it impossible to determine the sex of the ancient handprints,” said Snow. “But, old hands all fall at or beyond the extremes of the modern populations. Sexual dimorphism was greater then than it is now.”
Sexual dimorphism implies that males and females differ. Not only were male hands larger, Snow found that development of the fingers, how long they are relative each other, also differs significantly…
Snow also looked at modern American Indian hands and found that the rules and algorithms developed for Europeans did not work. He notes that different populations require separate analysis.
Times change. Our work changes. Our hands change. And look how long it took for someone to notice the difference between hands – men and women.
A team of Austrian researchers have made a discovery that would put those genealogy websites to shame: they have located several living descendants of a 5,300-year-old human mummy.
The prehistoric individual, known as Ötzi the Iceman, was originally found frozen in the Alps back in 1991, according to Steve Nolan of the Daily Mail. The so-called ice mummy suffered from the oldest case of Lyme disease recorded to date, and was also lactose intolerant and predisposed to cardiovascular disease.
Now, forensic scientist Walther Parson and colleagues from the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University have identified 19 men who share a specific genetic mutation with Ötzi. These individuals were identified following an analysis of DNA samples from approximately 3,700 blood donors in the state of Tyrol, which is located in the western part of Austria.
“The discovery was made during a broader study into determining the origins of the people who now inhabit the Alpine regions. Along with their blood the donors were asked to provide their place of birth and family history,” said Matthew Day of The Telegraph.
To date, none of the men identified have been informed of their genetic link to Ötzi, Parson told Day. He added his research team is working with colleagues in Italy and Switzerland who are attempting to uncover the same genetic mutation in residents of those two nations…
“Painstaking research revealed what his last meals were, where he lived and that he was about 45 years old when he met his demise high on the mountain,” Day added. “The ice had also preserved his clothes and a quiver of arrows, giving scientists a unique insight into the lives and technology of people from thousands of years ago.”
Wonderful work. Modern genetic testing makes determinations possible which previous generations of researchers couldn’t begin to consider. Can’t wait for the next couple of chapters from Switzerland and Italy.
Maybe he was one of my own uncles?
A Malaysian court ruled on Monday that a Christian newspaper may not use the word “Allah” to refer to God, a landmark decision on an issue that has fanned religious tension and raised questions over minority rights in the mainly Muslim country.
The unanimous decision by three Muslim judges in Malaysia’s appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court that allowed the Malay-language version of the newspaper, The Herald, to use the word Allah – as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the case for centuries.
“The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity,” chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said in the ruling. “The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.”
The decision coincides with heightened ethnic and religious tension in Malaysia after a polarizing May election, in which the long-ruling coalition was deserted by urban voters that included a large section of minority ethnic Chinese…
A court appointed on the basis of politics makes decisions based on politics. Sound familiar?