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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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Collins keeps spirit of Shepard alive

Dennis Shepard caught some of the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers on TV Sunday night, which means he caught the most meaningful 10 minutes, 37 seconds of February basketball ever played by an NBA reserve who did not make a single shot. Jason Collins did get his money's worth with five fouls, however, and he sure did set a mean pick.

"It hurt just to watch," Shepard said.

The 65-year-old fan from Casper, Wyo., loved every precious second of it. He did wonder why Collins wasn't wearing jersey No. 98 for the Nets, the one the 7-footer wore with the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards to honor the memory of Shepard's son, Matthew, murdered in 1998 for the "crime" of being gay. Dennis Shepard figured that Collins might've been honoring someone else with No. 46 or that the Nets might've retired his first preference.

He didn't know that Brooklyn had only its spare jersey (46) available Sunday and that Collins is scheduled to be wearing 98 again in Portland on Wednesday night, not that Shepard was sweating the small stuff. He was just happy to see the first openly gay man in major American team sports out there doing what he loves to do, and inspiring kids everywhere to be unafraid of who they are.

"Jason helps those kids go ahead and live their lives to the fullest, and take their talent in academics, in sports, wherever it can take them," Shepard said by phone Monday. "Some kids are still living hidden lives, living in fear, and the more you see Jason and Michael Sam and others encouraging them to be themselves, they'll understand they can get to the top of whatever ladder they're climbing."



Paco de Lucia, Renowned Flamenco Guitarist, Dies at 66

Source: NYT/Reuters

MADRID — Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia - one of Spain's most influential musicians and a composer who fused traditional flamenco with jazz and other genres - died on Wednesday of a heart attack in Mexico.

A spokesman for the city hall in Algeciras, where de Lucia was born, confirmed his death and said the city would decree two days of official mourning.

De Lucia, born Francisco Sanchez Gomez, was 66. He had lived both in Mexico and in Spain in recent years.

He was an ambassador of flamenco - the traditional gypsy music of southern Spain - and was also influential in classical and jazz circles. In the 1970s and 1980s he played with jazz pianist Chick Corea and fusion guitarist Al Di Meola.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2014/02/26/arts/26reuters-spain-delucia.html?hp&_r=0

RIP. Hell of a guitarist.

Wednesday Toon Roundup 4- The rest









Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- Cuts and Wars



Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- GOP and Congress



Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- Uganda of the Southwest

Limits sought on weed killer glyphosate to help monarch butterflies

By Louis Sahagun
February 25, 2014, 8:04 a.m.
With monarch butterfly populations rapidly dwindling, a conservation organization on Monday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement tougher rules for the weed killer glyphosate — first marketed under the brand name Roundup — to save America’s most beloved insect from further decline.

In a petition, the Natural Resources Defense Council argued that current uses of glyphosate are wiping out milkweed, the only plant upon which monarch caterpillars feed. The loss of milkweed is having a devastating effect on the life cycles of the large, fragile orange-and-black butterflies, which migrate through the United States, Canada and Mexico.
It takes several generations of the insect scientists know as Danaus plexippus to make the round trip because each monarch lives only a few weeks in the summer.

Since federal glyphosate rules were last updated a decade ago, its use has spiked tenfold to 182 million pounds a year, largely due to the introduction and popularity of corn and soybeans genetically modified to resist the herbicide, the petition says.

“The tenfold increase in the amount of glyphosate being used corresponds with huge losses of milkweed and the staggering decline of the monarch,” Sylvia Fallon, an NRDC senior scientist, said in an interview. “We are seeking new safeguards desperately needed to allow enough milkweed to grow.”


SeaWorld Cited By USDA For Violating Animal Welfare Act

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited SeaWorld Orlando for violating the Animal Welfare Act, namely for keeping expired veterinary materials and for neglecting to repair dislodged and crumbling rubber flooring which animals walk on during performances at the park. The citations are the result of a January 13, 2014 inspection, records of which were just obtained by PETA. During the most recent inspection, dozens of expired surgical sutures were found in the park’s surgery room which can lead to life-threatening infections in the animals.

SeaWorld, the subject of intense media scrutiny after the release of the 2013 CNN documentary "Blackfish," had been issued a citation in 2007 for the same rubber flooring issue and the park was cited in 2013 for failing to keep a dolphin tank and an area surrounding an orca performance tank in a safe condition.

"The tiny tanks at SeaWorld are inherently cruel, and when the tanks and surrounding areas are also rusting, peeling, and flaking, they're downright dangerous for the animals confined there," says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders in a release.

You can learn more about SeaWorld's history here, and sign a petition to end SeaWorld's orca breeding program here.


Things I learned during the Alabama Legislature's Ten Commandments debate

By Kyle Whitmire | kwhitmire@al.com
Should Alabamians be able to hang the Ten Commandments in public buildings, including schools and courthouses?
Rep. DuWayne Bridges, R-Valley, wants to give Alabamians an opportunity to decide at the ballot box, and this week he again introduced a bill to send an amendment of the Alabama Constitution to voters.

The debate over the bill was, to say the least, as interesting as it was meandering.

Here are a few things I learned about morality and Biblical history while listening to the debate.

- School shootings, patricide and matricide are due to the Ten Commandments not being displayed in schools and other government buildings. – Rep. Bridges.

- "Jesus himself said feed those who are hungry, clothe those who are nekkid." – Rep. Darrio Melton, D-Selma.

- People who believe in Mohammed practice "Muslimism." – Rep. James Buskey, D-Mobile.



With a canoe and a camera, AP journalists told story of coal ash spill

by Kristen Hare

After a long day of reporting, Michael Biesecker sat by himself at a table at Outback Steakhouse in Danville, Va.

“And they brought me a big glass of water,” said Biesecker, a reporter with the Associated Press, in a phone interview with Poynter. “And I knew the water was drawn and treated from the river, and everyone around me was drinking that water.”

That water, he discovered earlier that day, was thick and dirty with toxic coal ash stored in a coal ash pond that had leaked into the Dan River. Biesecker asked the waitress if she’d heard of the spill. She hadn’t. Hardly anyone had.

I need to tell people what’s going on here, he thought. So he wrote fast at that table, with a salad, a baked potato and a bottle of water nearby.


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