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Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Sunday's Doonesbury- Master Plan

This Alabama Judge Has Figured Out How to Dismantle Roe v. Wade

His writings fuel the biggest threat to abortion rights in a generation.

by Nina Martin

IN 2005, THE WITHERSPOON SCHOOL of Law and Public Policy held a conference in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The school’s name was something of a misnomer: Rather than grant JDs, Witherspoon staged seminars and lectures offering lessons in what it summarized as “the comprehensive biblical foundation for our common law and constitutional government.” Its target audience was homeschooled young men. The school itself was a project of Vision Forum, a Texas-based ministry whose founder was also a leader in the Christian Patriarchy movement, which preaches, among other things, that husbands should vote for their wives.

Most sitting judges would go to great pains to avoid such a gathering. But Tom Parker, then a few months into his first term on the Alabama Supreme Court, gladly accepted an invitation to speak at that year’s Witherspoon retreat. Before his election to Alabama’s highest court, Parker had been an aide-de-camp to Chief Justice Roy Moore, whose installation of a granite Ten Commandments monument in the state judiciary building had touched off what became for Alabama both a considerable embarrassment and a genuine constitutional crisis. At Parker’s swearing-in, he made it clear that he had sought the bench to continue his old boss’s spiritual fight.

“The very God of Holy Scriptures, the Creator, is the source of law, life, and liberty,” he declared to an audience that included his eight unsmiling fellow justices.

The atmosphere at Parker’s Witherspoon appearance was far warmer, and his remarks there were even more candid. A DVD of the session shows him gripping the lectern, dressed in a gray suit and blue tie, as he railed against the perceived sins of jurists at every level. “It’s the judges who have legalized abortion and homosexuality … They are shaking the very foundation of our society.” Parker made it clear that he had no intention of letting legal precedent get in his way. “We cannot fall under that trap,” he insisted. “We have to stand for what’s right.” The one thing he most wished for the young men before him was that they find a way to gain positions of influence and turn them to God’s purpose. No opportunity to do so should be shrunk from or wasted.



Human vs. Squirrel: The Battle of Wits Is On


Feed the birds, they said. It will be fun, they said.

Early this spring I bought a simple wood-and-plastic bird feeder. My children and I filled it with feed that promised to lure colorful birds, hung it from a tree in the front yard within view of the kitchen window, and waited. A few weeks later the birds arrived. Blue jays, robins, chickadees, cardinals, orioles, and wrens flew in, flitted down, and pecked at food. My children were delighted, and so was I.

On the fourth morning I spotted a squirrel. Brown and gray with a white belly and an anxiously darting, reddish tail, it crept up the tree, and stopped on a branch just above the feeder. Grabbing the branch with its hind legs, the squirrel flipped upside-down and rappel-stretched down to the feeder’s opening. “Oh, look at the cute, little squirrel,” I thought, “It wants some food too.” Within a few minutes the feeder was on the ground, battered and broken.

After piecing together the feeder several more times, only to have a squirrel dismantle it within hours, I hopped online to find a more squirrel-resistant version. Many feeders looked promising. At least some reviewers called each one of them junk.

The feeder with the cage around it? Squirrels chewed through the bars or shook out the seeds. The one that closes down when something heavy pushes on the perch? Squirrels hang off of one perch to get at the others. Hang it from a string? Strings are a squirrel’s invitation to play. Want a shepherd’s hook? The squirrel just climbs the pole or jumps up from the ground. Maybe if we put out food for the squirrel? The squirrels don’t only get full; they get more plentiful.



NYT calls for the end of the US Embargo of Cuba


Scanning a map of the world must give President Obama a sinking feeling as he contemplates the dismal state of troubled bilateral relationships his administration has sought to turn around. He would be smart to take a hard look at Cuba, where a major policy shift could yield a significant foreign policy success.

For the first time in more than 50 years, shifting politics in the United States and changing policies in Cuba make it politically feasible to re-establish formal diplomatic relations and dismantle the senseless embargo. The Castro regime has long blamed the embargo for its shortcomings, and has kept ordinary Cubans largely cut off from the world. Mr. Obama should seize this opportunity to end a long era of enmity and help a population that has suffered enormously since Washington ended diplomatic relations in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro assumed power.

In recent years, a devastated economy has forced Cuba to make reforms — a process that has gained urgency with the economic crisis in Venezuela, which gives Cuba heavily subsidized oil. Officials in Havana, fearing that Venezuela could cut its aid, have taken significant steps to liberalize and diversify the island’s tightly controlled economy.

They have begun allowing citizens to take private-sector jobs and own property. This spring, Cuba’s National Assembly passed a law to encourage foreign investment in the country. With Brazilian capital, Cuba is building a seaport, a major project that will be economically viable only if American sanctions are lifted. And in April, Cuban diplomats began negotiating a cooperation agreement with the European Union. They have shown up at the initial meetings prepared, eager and mindful that the Europeans will insist on greater reforms and freedoms.


Toon: The Bizzaro Nobels

INDIA has begun evacuating thousands of people from fishing villages as it braces for Cyclone Hudhud

Source: AFP

The states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa in the southeast are on high alert for what the weather office described as a “very severe cyclonic storm” due to make landfall Sunday.

Many thousands from fishing villages across five districts in northeast Andhra Pradesh living in flimsy housing were among the first to be moved to safer, concrete relief shelters, officials say.

The numbers of evacuees is expected to swell.

“We are ready to evacuate 400,000 people, but that will depend on the amount of rainfall and how it affects low-lying areas,” said Arvind Kumar, an senior official from Andhra Pradesh, overseeing the relief efforts.

Read more: http://mobile.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/india-evacuates-150000-people-as-it-prepares-for-cyclone-hudhud-to-hit-at-190-kilometres-per-hour/story-e6frfq80-1227087712040

Former Rep. Rick Renzi's conviction and sentence upheld

Former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi's criminal conviction and prison sentence were upheld Thursday by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appellate tribunal rejected multiple legal arguments filed in Renzi's appeal. An opinion authored by Judge Richard Tallman begins: "Congressmen may write the law, but they are not above the law. Former Arizona Congressman Richard Renzi learned this lesson the hard way."

The judges' ruling did not address whether Renzi should begin serving his time or remain at liberty through further appeals. As of Thursday, he had not been incarcerated.

Renzi, a Republican who served from 2003 through 2009, was found guilty last year on 17 counts of conspiracy, racketeering, money-laundering and other felonies. Hereceived a three-year prison sentence but remained free pending the appeal.



Funny, seems like an ordinary citizen convicted of felonies would be spending time in prison during appeal. ..

Menacing clowns in Bakersfield prompt calls to police, one arrest


The stuff of nightmares has hit the streets of Bakersfield, where police say they're fielding reports from members of the public freaked out by clowns standing in public holding machetes and baseball bats.

One teen was arrested on suspicion of annoying a minor after taking the prank too far. Police say he dressed as a clown and chased other teens, albeit without a weapon, leaving one of them "visibly shaken."

The prankster allegedly admitted to copying the likeness of the "Wasco Clown" -- so named for the small San Joaquin Valley town -- although with one key difference.


I had no idea the t-baggers were having a convention there….

Woman behind bars 17 years walks free after judge says she's innocent

woman convicted of murder and imprisoned for 17 years walked out of a Torrance courthouse Friday after a judge called her life sentence “a failure of the criminal justice system” and ordered her release.

Susan Mellen, 59, was embraced by her three children who had waited more than eight hours after the morning hearing for the prison detainer to be lifted.

"We're going to have a new beginning," she told reporters at a news conference where she was flanked by her children and other supporters.

Mellen credited her religious faith with helping her as she served a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. She said she inked the bottom of her prison-issued sneakers with the word "Freedom" but did not feel anger about her ordeal.


The audacity to 'fart in the elevator' and the lingering anger over the AIG bailout

The senior managing director – a top-ranking banker – walked onto the crowded elevator, focus fixed on her Blackberry, pressed the elevator button and farted loudly. As the smell filled the elevator, as others nervously coughed, some covering up giggles, her focus stayed on the Blackberry. Four floors later she left, commenting to a colleague, “The elevators are vile. The janitors are always on some break.”

Another MD turned to me: “That’s why she earns the big bucks.”

“Being able to fart?” I asked.

“No, you idiot. Audacity. Audacity so great that you can fart on the elevator and blame it on someone else.”

Maurice R Greenberg, the former chairman of AIG, has that kind of fart-in-the-elevator audacity.


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