American military marches openly in San Diego’s Gay Pride parade

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

About 200 active-duty troops and veterans wearing T-shirts advertising their branch of service marched Saturday in San Diego’s gay pride parade with American flags and rainbow banners, marking what is believed to be the first time a military contingent has participated in such an event in the U.S.

Many of the active-duty troops said they were moved to come out because it is time to end the military’s ban on openly gay troops. The march comes a day after a federal appeals court reinstated “don’t ask, don’t tell” but with a caveat that prevents the government from investigating or penalizing anyone who is openly gay.

National Guard member Nichole Herrera, 31, said she didn’t think twice about marching, even though the policy is back on the books. She said she was “choked up” several times as she walked down a main thoroughfare in San Diego, a major Navy port.

“This is one of the proudest days in my life. It’s time for it (the policy) to be gone,” Herrera said. “I’m a soldier no matter what, regardless of my sexual orientation.”

The crowd roared as the group waving military flags and holding placards identifying their military branch walked past the thousands.

Every branch of service was represented Saturday, including the Coast Guard. Marines and sailors ran out carrying their branch’s flags over their heads. One Marine stopped to pose with two towering bikini-clad blondes in stiletto-heeled boots.

Onlookers stepped into the parade route to salute them.

Bravo! The salute is overdue. Wish my cousin Billy was alive to see the Navy allow him public pride.

“The only wildlife most people see today are rats and pigeons”

Sir David with schoolchildren aiding the Big Butterfly Count

City-dwellers are now so “divorced from nature” the only wild animals they are likely to see is a rat or a pigeon, according to Sir David Attenborough. The veteran presenter, who has introduced viewers to some of the most spectacular wildlife in the world through his television programmes, said most people are unlikely to see animals in the wild.

“Worldwide we are estranged from nature,” he said. “Over half of the world’s population is now urbanised which means that more than one person in two is to some degree cut off from the natural world. There will be some people who do not see a wild creature from one day to the next – unless it is a rat or a pigeon – and they aren’t wild.”

The 86-year-old, who is planning a visit to the rainforests of Borneo for three weeks, admitted that most people are unable to travel to exotic places. But he said the wildlife on our doorsteps is just as important…

The natural world is around us all the time in our houses and gardens. And it is not just a question of standing back and looking at it in a passive way it is about getting involved in an active way and that transforms your attitude.”

Sir David urged people to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, which asks people to count butterflies in their local park, woodland or even the garden for 15 minutes over the next couple of weeks. He said the scheme, now in its second year, is the perfect opportunity for even “townies” to reconnect with nature.

“This enables you to get involved in the natural world, in your own garden. If you start counting butterflies, you become aware of them…

“Butterflies are in danger and we are doing our best to try and help them but we cannot help them unless we know what is happening to them. So the Big Butterfly Count is very important…

If my heart is not going to be lifted by a butterfly because they’ve gone my life is going to be much the poorer.”

I tell folks the story of being at a high school [American] football game in the Texas Oil Patch at twilight. As the powerful lights clattered on to illuminate the contest, insects gathered in clouds around the brightness. I expected next to see swifts and other birds knifing through the schools of flying bugs – but none appeared.

I asked my friend, a lifetime local – “where are the birds?” He replied, “They’re dead and gone. The hydrocarbons in the air, the fields, every puddle on the ground in the oilfields has killed them”

He said, “Breathe deeply. We call that the smell of money.”

Scotland Yard coppers and tabloids in a cabal of corruption

For nearly four years they lay piled in a Scotland Yard evidence room, six overstuffed plastic bags gathering dust and little else.

Inside was a treasure-trove of evidence: 11,000 pages of handwritten notes listing nearly 4,000 celebrities, politicians, sports stars, police officials and crime victims whose phones may have been hacked by The News of the World, a now defunct British tabloid newspaper.

Yet from August 2006, when the items were seized, until the autumn of 2010, no one at the Metropolitan Police Service, commonly referred to as Scotland Yard, bothered to sort through all the material and catalog every page, said former and current senior police officials.

During that same time, senior Scotland Yard officials assured Parliament, judges, lawyers, potential hacking victims, the news media and the public that there was no evidence of widespread hacking by the tabloid. They steadfastly maintained that their original inquiry, which led to the conviction of one reporter and one private investigator, had put an end to what they called an isolated incident.

After the past week, that assertion has been reduced to tatters, torn apart by a spectacular avalanche of contradictory evidence, admissions by News International executives that hacking was more widespread, and a reversal by police officials who now admit to mishandling the case.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates of the Metropolitan Police Service publicly acknowledged that he had not actually gone through the evidence. “I’m not going to go down and look at bin bags,” Mr. Yates said, using the British term for trash bags.

At best, former Scotland Yard senior officers acknowledged in interviews, the police have been lazy, incompetent and too cozy with the people they should have regarded as suspects. At worst, they said, some officers might be guilty of crimes themselves.

NSS. Supervising coppers covering up for their mates in the tabloid press should not shock anyone. It’s the kind of corruption that has always lived on a 2-way street.

That something like this has blown up in the faces of a big time, big city police department is the only surprise. Usually the political establishment sees something like this coming and gets their assorted walls of agitprop in place, stonewalling any danger to blue bureaucrats. In fact, that’s probably what they thought they’d already succeeded in doing – if it weren’t for the tenacity of some of the victims and one newspaper, The Guardian.

RTFA for pages of detail – of exactly the sort of corruption you already expect.

Drug gangsters in Mexican jailbreak — guards leave with them

Another superlative job of guarding the prison – afterwards

About 60 inmates tied to the Zetas drug trafficking organization broke out of a Nuevo Laredo prison Friday, leaving seven members of a rival gang dead in their wake.

The late-morning escape is the latest violent episode in a prison that was the site of a massive breakout last year and where the Zetas execute with impunity those who displease them.

Five guards also are missing from the Centro de Ejecución de Sanciones No. 2, known by its acronym CEDES, where 151 inmates escaped in December.

After that escape, the prison’s warden went missing. His replacement was stabbed to death in March during a confrontation in the prison…

The situation is currently under control and the facts are being investigated in a coordinated manner with local and federal authorities,” according to the news release from the state of Tamaulipas.

RTFA for details. Frankly “coordinated manner with local and federal authorities” probably is an accurate description of how the jailbreak was designed and implemented.

Mexican history would say that is so.