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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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The NRA Vs. America

By Tim Dickinson
January 31, 2013 10:00 AM ET

Eleven days after the massacre, Wayne LaPierre – a lifelong political operative who had steadied the National Rifle Association through many crises – stood before an American flag and soberly addressed the nation about firearms and student safety: "We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period," LaPierre said, carving out a "rare exception" for professional law enforcement. LaPierre even proposed making the mere mention of the word "guns" in schools a crime: "Such behavior in our schools should be prosecuted just as certainly as such behavior in our airports is prosecuted," LaPierre said.

This speech wasn't delivered in an alternate universe. The date was May 1st, 1999, at the NRA's national convention in Denver. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold's rampage at Columbine High School in nearby Littleton, Colorado, had just killed 13 students and teachers, shocking the conscience of the nation.

The disconnect between the NRA chief's conciliatory address on that day 14 years ago and his combative press conference in the aftermath of the slaughter of 20 first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut, could hardly be more jarring. In his now-infamous December 21st tirade, LaPierre ripped the gun-free zones he once championed as an invitation to the "monsters and predators of this world," advertising to "every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk."

LaPierre then offered what he called a "proven" solution to school gun violence – one that would open a lucrative new market for the gun industry while tidily expanding the power of the NRA itself. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre insisted, before proposing that armed, NRA-trained vigilantes should patrol each of the nation's nearly 100,000 public schools.

The shift in LaPierre's rhetoric underscores a radical transformation within the NRA. Billing itself as the nation's "oldest civil rights organization," the NRA still claims to represent the interests of marksmen, hunters and responsible gun owners. But over the past decade and a half, the NRA has morphed into a front group for the firearms industry, whose profits are increasingly dependent on the sale of military-bred weapons like the assault rifles used in the massacres at Newtown and Aurora, Colorado. "When I was at the NRA, we said very specifically, 'We do not represent the fi rearm industry,'" says Richard Feldman, a longtime gun lobbyist who left the NRA in 1991. "We represent gun owners. End of story." But in the association's more recent history, he says, "They have really gone after the gun industry."

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-nra-vs-america-20130131

This is also not a picture from Blade Runner

China's Toxic Sky
JAN 30, 2013 |
Since the beginning of this year, the levels of air pollution in Beijing have been dangerously high, with thick clouds of smog chasing people indoors, disrupting air travel, and affecting the health of millions. The past two weeks have been especially bad -- at one point the pollution level measured 40 times recommended safety levels. Authorities are taking short-term measures to combat the current crisis, shutting down some factories and limiting government auto usage. However, long-term solutions seem distant, as China's use of coal continues to rise, and the government remains slow to acknowledge and address the problems. * Starting with photo #2, a four-part set of these images is interactive, allowing you to click the photo and 'clear the air', viewing a difference over time.


Anyone who claims to want "less regulation" should be forced to breathe this crap until they see the light. Because this is what would result from Ayn Randian Libertarian "dreams"

NASA's Cassini Watches Storm Choke on Its Own Tail

NASA's Cassini Watches Storm Choke on Its Own Tail

This mosaic of Cassini images shows the trail of a great northern storm on Saturn raging in full force.
Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail. In a new paper that provides the most detail yet about the life and death of a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn, scientists from NASA's Cassini mission describe how the massive storm churned around the planet until it encountered its own tail and sputtered out. It is the first time scientists have observed a storm consume itself in this way anywhere in the solar system.

"This Saturn storm behaved like a terrestrial hurricane – but with a twist unique to Saturn," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, who is a co-author on the new paper in the journal Icarus. "Even the giant storms at Jupiter don’t consume themselves like this, which goes to show that nature can play many awe-inspiring variations on a theme and surprise us again and again."

Earth's hurricanes feed off the energy of warm water and leave a cold-water wake. This storm in Saturn's northern hemisphere also feasted off warm "air" in the gas giant's atmosphere. The storm, first detected on Dec. 5, 2010, and tracked by Cassini's radio and plasma wave subsystem and imaging cameras, erupted around 33 degrees north latitude. Shortly after the bright, turbulent head of the storm emerged and started moving west, it spawned a clockwise-spinning vortex that drifted much more slowly. Within months, the storm wrapped around the planet at that latitude, stretching about 190,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) in circumference, thundering and throwing lightning along the way.

Terrestrial storms have never run into their own wakes – they encounter topographic features like mountains first and expend themselves. But Saturn has no land to stop its hurricanes. The bright, turbulent storm head was able to chomp all the way around the planet. It was only when the head of the storm ran into the vortex in June 2011 that the massive, convective storm faded away. Why the encounter would shut down the storm is still a mystery.


Marineland (Canada) is a Hellhole

By Brad Casey

Marineland, Niagara Falls’ premier tourist destination, was opened in 1961 by John Holer. At the time, John was a portly Slovenian immigrant who couldn’t find work when he arrived to Canada. With what little money he had, and what little English he could speak, Holer built two water tanks and acquired three sea lions. When he opened Marineland’s doors, admission was 25 cents per person. In the 52 years since then, Marineland has expanded to include a large collection of animals, animal shows, and a theme park with over a dozen rides. His is the kind of story that gives one hope, and makes one look nostalgically to the past when things were simpler, right? No. According to an exposé headed by Toronto Star reporter Linda Diebel, Marineland is rife with animal neglect and poor facility conditions that have led to an ever-evolving series of depressing stories, distressing events, and grim accounts from Marineland employees. Not to mention the protests, lawsuits, and public overload of bleeding hearts.

In the original Star report, a group of former Marineland employees came forward with allegations that the park suffered from poor water quality. They also noted that the park was understaffed and mentioned several cases of animal neglect. Doesn’t sound so hellish at first, right? Well, the water in some of the facilities was turning green and causing seals to lose their vision, and one of them even had an eye pop out of its socket when it barked because the water eroded its eye lens away. Several dolphins were losing their skin, which was coming off in chunks in the pools. A baby beluga named Skoot contracted bacterial meningitis, and was then attacked by other whales that threw her into a stone wall and killed her. After that, she was pulled from the pool by two trainers and "convulsed and died in their arms.” There is even a logbook from a former Marineland supervisor, who wrote that water was coming up from a sewer near Friendship Cove that was so corrosive it ate the tires off a pickup truck.

But Marineland doesn’t limit their severe conditions to aquatic animals. There are also land animals that get to feel the pain, and their problems are even more grim. According to this article, Marineland has a cramped collection of 15 bears. They share four dens and are underfed. They have to fight for corn pops, which people throw at them, and occasionally eat their own young. There was an incident where one bear was killed by four other bears as a crowd observed.

Then there’s the deer. The deer at the park suffer sores from the concrete grounds and sometimes break their legs, at which point, instead of euthanizing the injured animals, park owner John Holer has allegedly resorted to shooting them with a shotgun while sitting inside of his truck. According to the former supervisor of land animals, Jim Hammond, Holer once shot a sick deer in the neck, drove home, and then when Hammond called Holer to tell him the deer was still alive and choking on its own blood, Holer told him to finish the job with his knife. Hammond said it was like “trying to cut into concrete,” because the knife was so dull. The Star, who initially reported on all of this, was unable to confirm Hammond's claims regarding the incident, as Marineland would not comment on it. Holer’s response to these allegations of gruesome killings has simply been along the lines of an Elton John inspired, “circle of life” type statement.



Nearly half of Americans are one emergency from financial ruin

By Shan Li
January 30, 2013, 11:39 a.m.
Nearly 44% of American households are one emergency away from financial ruin.

That means they don't have enough savings to cover basic living expenses for three months if something unforeseen happens such as losing a job or falling sick, according to a recent study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Almost a third of Americans have no savings account at all.

"These families have had to prioritize today's expenses over tomorrow's goals," said Andrea Levere, the group's president.

California ranks 38th among all states for the ability of its residents to achieve financial stability, the report says. Those living in the Golden State are bedeviled with an average $13,825 in credit card debt and high housing costs.

Many people living precariously have jobs. About 75% are working full time, and more than 15% are earning middle-class incomes of more than $55,000 a year, according to the report.


Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest









Thursday TOON Roundup 2 -Guns

Thursday TOON Roundup 1 -Immigration Reform

Tony Plant Transforms the Beaches of England into Swirling Canvases

Armed with little more than standard garden rake, environmental artist Tony Plant transforms the breathtakingly scenic beaches of England into temporary canvases for his swirling sand drawings. Each work is created below the tidal zones where the sand is flatter and wetter, allowing for greater contrast as he quickly drags the rake into various geometric patterns. The beauty however is fleeting as the artworks last only a few hours before being consumed by the incoming tide. Recently Plant’s work was used in the music video above by Light Colours Sound for recording artist Ruarri Joseph.

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