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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 43,029

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Making a Killing

By Evan Osnos

Bars in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia let out at 2 a.m. On the morning of January 17, 2010, two groups emerged, looking for taxis. At the corner of Market and Third Street, they started yelling at each other. On one side was Edward DiDonato, who had recently begun work at an insurance company, having graduated from Villanova University, where he was a captain of the lacrosse team. On the other was Gerald Ung, a third-year law student at Temple, who wrote poetry in his spare time and had worked as a technology consultant for Freddie Mac. Both men had grown up in prosperous suburbs: DiDonato in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia; Ung in Reston, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

Everyone had been drinking, and neither side could subsequently remember how the disagreement started; one of DiDonato’s friends may have kicked in the direction of one of Ung’s friends, and Ung may have mocked someone’s hair. “To this day, I have no idea why this happened,” Joy Keh, a photographer who was one of Ung’s friends at the scene, said later.

The argument moved down the block, and one of DiDonato’s friends, a bartender named Thomas V. Kelly IV, lunged at the other group. He was pushed away before he could throw a punch. He rushed at the group again; this time, Ung pulled from his pocket a .380-calibre semiautomatic pistol, the Kel-Tec P-3AT. Only five inches long and weighing barely half a pound, it was a “carry gun,” a small, lethal pistol designed for “concealed carry,” the growing practice of toting a hidden gun in daily life. Two decades ago, leaving the house with a concealed weapon was strictly controlled or illegal in twenty-two states, and fewer than five million Americans had a permit to do so. Since then, it has become legal in every state, and the number of concealed-carry permit holders has climbed to an estimated 12.8 million.

Ung had obtained a concealed-carry license because he was afraid of street crime. He bought a classic .45-calibre pistol but later switched to the Kel-Tec, which was easier to carry; for a year and a half, he stowed one of the pistols in his pocket or in his backpack. He had never fired it. Now, on the sidewalk, he held the Kel-Tec with outstretched arms. A pedestrian heard him yell, “You’d better not piss me off!” Ung maintains that he said, “Back the fuck up.” DiDonato thought the pistol looked too small to be real; he guessed that it was a BB gun. He spread his arms, stepped forward, and said, “Who are you going to shoot, man?” Ung pulled the trigger. Afterward, he couldn’t recall how many times—he said it felt like a movie, and he was “seeing sparks and hearing pops.”



Monday Toon Roundup




The Issue

Decades Later, Sickness Among Airmen After a Hydrogen Bomb Accident

Alarms sounded on United States Air Force bases in Spain and officers began packing all the low-ranking troops they could grab onto buses for a secret mission. There were cooks, grocery clerks and even musicians from the Air Force band.

It was a late winter night in 1966 and a fully loaded B-52 bomber on a Cold War nuclear patrol had collided with a refueling jet high over the Spanish coast, freeing four hydrogen bombs that went tumbling toward a farming village called Palomares, a patchwork of small fields and tile-roofed white houses in an out-of-the-way corner of Spain’s rugged southern coast that had changed little since Roman times.

It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”

“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”



Sunday Toon Roundup 2- The Rest




The Issue

Sunday Toon Roundup 1- Father's Day

Sunday's Non Sequitur- Travel Prep

Sunday's Doonesbury- tRump Quotes

UK astronaut Tim Peake returns to Earth

UK astronaut Tim Peake is back on Earth after a historic six-month stay on the International Space Station.

A Soyuz capsule carrying Major Peake and two other crew members touched down in Kazakhstan at 10:15 BST.

He called the journey back "the best ride I've been on ever", adding: "The smells of Earth are just so strong."

Maj Peake is the first person to fly to space under the UK banner since Helen Sharman in 1991 and made the first spacewalk by a UK astronaut.


Mississippi’s Anti-LGBTQ Law Is About to Go Down in Flames

These may be extraordinarily dark times for the LGBTQ community in America, but a bright spot is on the horizon—and out of Mississippi, of all places. No, the state’s Republican-dominated legislature hasn’t wised up and repealed its horrific anti-LGBTQ segregation law. But a federal judge has agreed to consider a constitutional challenge to the legislation at a hearing next week. And here’s the really good part: The woman in charge of the challenge is Roberta Kaplan, whose track record of knocking down anti-LGBTQ laws in Mississippi is pretty damn stellar.

Kaplan launched her challenge to the Mississippi law, HB 1523, by questioning an especially troubling provision that allows clerks to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples while still issuing them to opposite-sex couples. When the state refused to cooperate with her requests for information, Kaplan reopened a previous case that had challenged Mississippi’s same-sex-marriage ban. That litigation ended with an injunction barring the state or its officers from discriminating against same-sex couples; Kaplan simply asked the judge, Carlton W. Reeves, to extend his previous order to prevent Mississippi’s clerks from turning away same-sex couples.

Now it appears the judge will do much more than that. In response to Reeves’ interest in the constitutionality of the entire law, Kaplan has filed a new brief to demonstrate that HB 1523 violates not just the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, but also the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. HB 1523, Kaplan explains in her motion to enjoin the law, singles out three religious beliefs for special protection: The belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, that sexual relations outside of such a marriage are improper, and that a person’s gender must be the same as they sex they were assigned at birth. The law then elevates these beliefs for special treatment, granting their holders a near-absolute right to discriminate against gay, bisexual, and trans people with regard to “marriage licenses, adoption and fertility services, access to health care, and public accommodation in restaurants, hotels, wedding halls, and more.”



Smack Them Bigots

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