Archive for July, 2011

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

There are two ways to increase your chances of winning an election, get more voters to cast their ballots for you, or get fewer voters to cast their ballots for your opponent. The GOP had decided to pursue the latter option.

There is nothing more sacred in a democracy that the right to vote, so an attack on voting rights is an attack on democracy. That is exactly what is happening in many states across our land. Republican governors and legislatures are passing laws making it extremely difficult for certain Americans to vote.

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Baby Now That I’ve Found You

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


For your listening enjoyment, we present The Foundations in glorious STEREO!

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We left Gascony with the kids with a deep love for the region and its people. Leslie and I joined our friends in climbing to the top of the église du Heux next to the Chateau to look over the Gascon countryside one last time. The Church was built in the 13th Century with additions in the 17th Century. After obtaining the keys from Madam Fezas (of the winemaking family next door) we climbed the ancient wood stairs to the top. It is quite a journey in which you have to crouch up winding stairs occupied at night by bats. When you emerge, you are greeted by a wonderful sight of rolling hills and vineyards.
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Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

The July 24th catastrophic crash of a high speed train in Wenzhou, eastern China, made world wide headlines. The dead and injured totals as of today, July 30th, stand at 40 dead and 192 injured although earlier reports indicated as many as 210 injured including 2 foreigners. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but the preliminary facts indicate that train D301 in service from Beijing South Station to Fuzhou (in Fujian province) and train D3115 in service from Hangzhou to Fuzhou, were derailed when D301 struck the stationary D3115 at around 8:30pm local time. Although both trains are limited to traveling at a maximum of 250km/h (~155 mph), it is uncertain how fast D301 was moving at the time of the accident.

This is more than just a human tragedy for China, but possibly an economic tragedy as well. With China looking to compete globally to sell high speed rail systems that are going to become increasingly important to countries around the world as fuel prices rise, their systems have been plagued by unstable performance and this crash caused the stock of state owned CSR Corporation to plummet 14 points on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Although CSR is technically the world’s largest manufacturer of high speed rail equipment, it faces stiff competition from German and Japanese manufacturers who have more mature and refined products. While none of this is unfamiliar to anyone who has followed businesses in the wake of a disaster in the West, what is unusual is what happened next.

Lawyers were told not to take plaintiff’s cases related to the rail accident.

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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Bonneau is a quiet little town in the “Low Country” of South Carolina.   Boasting plenty of southern charm, it covers about 2.9 square miles and sports 354 residents. Not much going on except good red beans and rice and some pleasantly hot summer boat rides on Lake Moultrie. Pretty Mayberry-esque except  it’s also the epicenter for  a debate on South Carolina’s obscenity laws which prohibit motorists from  displaying bumper stickers, decals, or devices depicting “sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body in an offensive way as determined by contemporary community standards.”

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Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

While everyone was distracted with the hullabaloo surround the artificial “debt ceiling crisis”, Congress did manage to get some work done.  Unfortunately that work was in furtherance of eroding your right to privacy.  Thursday, July 28, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee submitted a bill (H.R. 1981) under the politically motivated and misleading name Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, which was quietly lobbied for by conservative Republicans and the Department of Justice, voted in committee to advance regulations requiring Internet service providers to retain your account information.  This information preserved would include not just your IP address, but customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers as well.  The Judiciary Committee approved this bill in a 19-0 vote, rejecting a last minute amendment that would have required the retention of IP addresses only by 7-16.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless schizophrenic, is shown on the left, after his confrontation with Fullerton California police officers, and on the right before his brutalization. He was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange County in critical condition on life-support and died five days later. Kelly was unarmed, had a slight build, and of medium height.

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Summertime Blues

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


Today we have Eddie Cochran in glorious STEREO!

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Photos courtesy of Allison Mabe McBane

One of the greatest finds of this trip was not that difficult to find.  Surrounding the Chateau Du Heux of my host are great fields of wine grapes.  These vines belong to Domaine Chiroulet – run by Phillipe Fezas and this family.  They are the latest of their family who have made wine in the Ténarèze soil for 150 years in six generations. The Fezas are a prototypical Gascon family – joyful, friendly, and generous.  They are also incredible winemakers.  Phillippe is a fascinating study.  He may be the most knowledgeable man I have ever met on oak and its role in wine-making.  A consultant for the leading houses in France and widely respected in the field, he has a variety of Russian, French, and American oak barrels at his operation.  More on this later.  What he also has is a splendid Gascon wine that should find itself in every American wine store.
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Submitted by Mike Appleton (Guest Blogger)

The debate raging in Congress over increasing the so-called “debt ceiling” makes for wonderfully frenetic headlines.  It allows Republicans to play pin the blame on the donkey and Democrats to respond with accusations of irresponsible brinkmanship.  In the end it is likely that a bill in some form will be passed because the government must pay its bills.

But lost in the frenzy is a fundamental question.  The budget is determined by Congress through the appropriations process.  Therefore, Congress essentially determines the amount of the nation’s debt.  The borrowing authority granted by Congress to the Treasury provides flexibility in financing that debt.  The executive branch cannot spend more than is appropriated, nor borrow more than is needed to service debt.

So, since Congress controls the purse strings, and the power of the President is limited to implementing the fiscal will of Congress, why is it necessary to periodically debate Treasury’s borrowing authority?  More specifically, is there any logical reason for the imposition of the misnamed “debt ceiling”? (more…)

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Day 4-5: Heux, France

Church in Condom

We began this day with just Leslie and I (and Madie) running to the store to buy the makings for a dinner for tonight. We quickly became sidetracked in Condom and went into the glorious church at the center of town. Outside we found a statue of the Three Musketeers – who all came from this region, including d’Artagnan came from this immediate vicinity. Putting asides its prophylactic name, the town is uninhibited, well-populated, and quintessentially Gascon. Narrow roads are filled with shops for pastries, bread, antiques, and other distractions. We returned laden with escargot, cheeses (including one of my favorites – the Petit Basque), fresh bread, and Gascon cakes. [Note:  our internet access was lost for a couple days in Gascony.  We are now posting from a hotel in Rennes]

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

It’s a common claim from the Right, but it’s not true. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), in a Senate floor speech,  claimed “Fifty-one percent — that is, a majority of American households — paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada.” At least he used the often omitted “income” adjective. However, those individuals still pay payroll taxes, like Social Security and Medicare, sales taxes, and often property taxes.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Coin seigniorage (CS) is the net revenue derived from the issuing of coins. It cost less than one dollar to mint a dollar coin and the difference between the manufacturing costs and face value (one dollar) is pure profit for the Treasury. The United States could just print more paper money, however, there is a statutory limit to the amount of paper currency in circulation at any one time.

There is not, ironically, a similar statutory requirement on the amount of coinage. The idea of using CS to solve the debt crisis is garnering a lot of serious attention.

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GOP – Special Victims Unit

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Jon Stewart at his best.

If someone knows how to embed videos from The Daily Show, let me know.

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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

The battle over raising the debt ceiling has made some interesting bedfellows and even more intriguing and perplexing moments. At this instant, we are awaiting the vote on Speaker Boehner’s Plan which has been delayed to allow the mainline Republicans to scurry about coaxing tea partiers off their high horses named “No Taxes,” and “Cut Government.” For his part, Boehner has the distinct look of the bridegroom anxiously waiting at the legislative altar while the cavorting bride finishes up at the  ‘No, no Nanette” (you’ll recall that ditty, “Tea For Two.’) themed bachelorette party over at Michele Bachmann’s encounter group/ chapel/ballroom.

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Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

Among the ongoing battles in anthropology and paleontology since the mid-Nineteenth Century to now, is the distinction between the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man. Specifically this devolves down to what happened to the Neanderthals, since the fossil record appears to show their extinction about 20,000 years ago. My assumption is that most readers are familiar with a lot of this material. It is easily attainable through Google or Wiki. What I find most interesting in this ongoing debate is the impact that Social Darwinism might have played in the original depiction of Neanderthals and in the assumptions made by some scientists about this species.

“Social Darwinism is a term used for various late nineteenth century ideologies predicated on the idea of survival of the fittest.[1] It especially refers to notions of struggle for existence being used to justify social policies which make no distinction between those able to support themselves and those unable to support themselves. The most prominent form of such views stressed competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism but it is also connected to the ideas of eugenics, scientific racism, imperialism,[2], Fascism, Nazism and struggle between national or racial groups.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism

The first skull of the Neanderthal had been discovered in 1926, but it was the discovery in 1856, in the Neanderthal Valley, in Germany that gave the species a name. We all know that the publication of Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” in 1859 set off a firestorm of both intellectual excitement and angry social resistance. By the end of the Nineteenth Century scientists, sociologists, physicians, philosophers, and politicians had misused Darwin’s phrase “survival of the fittest” to justify a host of theories that boiled down to two intertwined propositions. The first was that White People represented the apogee of human civilization and the second that among white people the Anglo-Saxon Teutonic strain represented the elite. This justified Eugenics, Imperialism and even the attempted genocide of the Native Americans. In politics, it also represented a definite anti-democratic strain, articulated prominently by Theodore Roosevelt, who believed that those of Anglo-Saxon/Teutonic origin should rule the Nation since the “rabble” was incapable of civilized behavior without their strong leadership. (more…)

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Back in February, Professor Turley wrote a blog post titled Teacher Suspended for Writing Critical Comments on Her Personal Blog. Many people who commented on the post sided with Natalie Munroe, the teacher who had been suspended. I did not. I thought the school administration did the right thing after I read some of the critical comments Munroe made about her students and comments she said she’d like to be able to note on her students’ report cards.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Peter Lucas Moses

Jadon Higganbothan

A Durham, North Carolina, man has been charged with killing a 4-year-old boy and a 28-year-old woman. Peter Lucas Moses, 27, and six others face murder charges in the deaths of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

While Jonathan is off gallivanting around in France for a few weeks, he’s left us guest bloggers to do the majority of postings here at the Turley blog. While I’ve remained stateside, I did have an opportunity earlier today to travel to a beautiful otherworld–one created in the imagination of glass artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly’s “Through the Looking Glass” exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is breathtaking! Fortunately, I was able to take pictures without a flash. Maybe you’d like to come along on a tour of his glass art exhibit.

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Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger

Following up on the continuing saga of the debt default crisis and our earlier articles, I had a few more thoughts on how the crisis should be handled. The first suggested solution came from President Clinton who argued for it in a recent interview. (more…)

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Day 4-5: Huex, France

Today was a misty day in Gascony with light rain all day.  While our falconry demonstration was cancelled at Larressingle, we were still able to have a great time.   We went to the picturesque Chateau de Lavardens. Note: We are having difficulties with internet connections (which are hit and miss in Gascony) so there may be continued delays in upholding pictures and blogs from France.

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Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

Perhaps the real original sin of humanity is the concept of sin itself. There is of course evil in the world and there is good. To me there is little equivocation about some evils and I am hardly a moral relativist. Although these terms become subjective when viewed from the perspective of an individual, there is a wide general acceptance among diverse cultures as to general definitions. We consider murder in all cultures evil, as is robbery, assault, rape, and a host of familiar others. For at least five thousand years, cultures established legal systems to deal with bad behavior and with those systems came the need for punishment. The history of punishment has always been rather draconian and bloody throughout history. While today punishment is perhaps more humane in many places, it still caries with it significant cruelty in its application throughout humanity.

“A woman and her three children had just gotten off the bus at a stop across from their apartment building (in Marietta, Georgia) in October 2010 when her 4-year-old son, A.J., broke away from her and ran into the street. A car struck the boy, causing fatal injuries. Nelson (the woman) and one of her two daughters also suffered minor injuries. Nelson was charged with three misdemeanors: second-degree vehicular homicide, failing to cross at a cross walk and reckless conduct, according to court records. A jury convicted her this month. Although prosecutors did not recommend jail time, each count carried a potential sentence of one year in jail”. What is behind this prosecution? Who among us who has raised young children wouldn’t be chilled with the vision of this happening to them? Why do we see such prosecutorial zeal in our society to find someone to punish when accidents occur? (more…)

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Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

If you’ve never heard of King Lincoln v. Blackwell, don’t be too surprised.  Project Censored calls the outsourcing of the 2004 Presidential elections in Ohio “one of the most censored stories in the world.”  Originally filed on August 31, 2006 in Ohio, King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell is an ongoing civil case to decide if the the Ohio Secretary of State at the time, Kenneth Blackwell, violated the Civil Rights Act (42 USC §§ 1983 and 1984) and the 1st, 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution by conspiring to “deprive and continue to deprive Ohioans of their right to vote and have, in fact, deprived and continue to deprive Ohioans of their right to vote by, in a selective and discriminatory manner, unfairly allocate election resources (such as voting machines), institute a system of provisional ballots, purge voter registrations, and broke the bi-partisan chain of custody ballots”.  The vote at the heart of the issue is the 2004 Presidential election where, in defiance of exit poll data, there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush.

New filings include a revealing deposition of the late Michael Connell.   Connell died shortly after giving his deposition in a small plane crash that is described as “suspicious”*.  In life, Connell served as the IT guru for the Bush family and their personal minister of propaganda, Karl Rove. Connell ran a private IT firm called GovTech that created the controversial electronic voting system that Ohio used during the election.  GovTech’s system transferred Ohio’s vote count late on election night to a partisan Republican server site in Chattanooga, Tennessee owned by a company called SmarTech. That is when the alleged vote shift happened that led to Bush’s unexpected victory.

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Paging Mr. Poe . . .

Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

An unidentified 50 year old asthmatic South African man has a chilling story to tell.  Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive.   Last Saturday in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, the  man went to sleep and almost had that fear come true.  His family, thinking he was dead, called a local undertaker to come get the body.  The undertaker then transfered the undead body to a local mortuary where morgue owner Ayanda Maqolo checked the body for a pulse and found nothing.  The body was put in body bag and then to a freezer for storage.  Much to the surprise of the mortuary workers, who thought they were hearing a ghost at first, some twenty-one hours later the man woke up inside the freezer and began calling for help.  “He screamed for help and made an almighty din in the morgue,” said Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.  The man was taken by ambulance to Saint Barnabas Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia and dehydration and released.  His family was having a meeting to discuss funeral arrangements when they were informed he was still alive.  They were, of course, delighted to have the grandfather back and unharmed. Ayanda Magolo, however, did experience some side-effects.”I couldn’t sleep last night, I had nightmares,” he said. “But today I’m much better.” South African officials are reminding people that it is not a good idea to pronounce a person dead yourself and call the undertaker.  Such evaluations should be made by paramedics, doctors or other qualified personnel.

Source: BBC, AP, Times Live

~Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

McGehee High School, southeast of Little Rock, Arkansas, would not let Kymberly Wimberly, 18 and black, be valedictorian even though she had the highest GPA. A white student was named as co-valedictorian even though the white student had a lower GPA. Wimberly’s mother, who works at the school as its certified media specialist, heard school personnel express concern that her daughter’s status as valedictorian might cause a “big mess.”

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Persistent Pooch

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

In This Corner: NY Governor Andrew Cuomo ...

A coalition of conservative groups filed for an injunction in a Livingston County, New York Supreme Court (a trial court in NY parlance) asking the judge to overturn New York’s same-sex marriage law. New Yorker’s for Constitutional Freedom (NYCF) seek to enjoin operation of the law claiming that procedural requirements for the legislation were ignored, legislators were promised huge campaign contributions in exchange for their vote by NYC Mayor Bloomberg, and that Governor Andrew Cuomo violated the three-day review period by falsely issuing a “message of necessity” to the Legislature to speed up passage of the legislation. Through their lawyers, Liberty Counsel, the conservative action group also claims the public and lobbyists were shut out of the process.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger

I have a slightly different take on the debt ceiling discussion started by Mike Appleton earlier.  The Debt ceiling issue is on every cable and broadcast TV channel and on just about every website and blog including here on Prof. Turley’s blog. The debt limit and its feared default has controlled the airwaves for weeks now, and it isn’t going to end soon if the news reports are to believed. The Democrats want increased revenue and the Republicans want cuts only to spending in order to convince both sides to do something that was done about 19 times during the preceding administration without much fanfare from either side. No matter who you support there is an easy solution to the problem and the majority of Americans agree with it. The Hill (more…)

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Submitted by Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger

Humorist Tom Bodett observed on NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” this weekend that if we raise the debt ceiling any higher, we won’t be able to paint it.  In addition to being funny, his comment was more intelligent than most of what passes for debate on the issue.

Raising the debt ceiling is hardly a difficult decision to make, requiring that Congress answer only the following questions:

1. Are we unable with existing revenues to pay our debts as they become due?

2. Do we have the ability to borrow the funds necessary to cover the shortfall?

3. Will the additional borrowing push us over the existing debt ceiling?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” the debt ceiling needs to be raised. Congress has always managed to get through the process rather easily, voting to increase the debt ceiling 74 times since 1962.  So why the current impasse on a routine matter? (more…)

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Rep. David Wu has long been identified as a major liability for the Democrats. The first Chinese-American elected to Congress, Wu has displayed mental instability for years. He is now accused of an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the teenage daughter of a longtime friend.

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Day 3-4: Heux, France

I am sitting here with everyone still asleep listening to the light rain over of the fields and a red squirrel rocking in the hammock. The fields are a perfect Monet with fog playing through the lines of the vineyard. Yesterday was another glorious day in Gascony.
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Charles Darwin

Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

Last Thursday, July 21, the Texas Board of Education in an 8-0 unanimous vote opted to keep teaching evolution in high school biology classes using approved scientifically accurate textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers. They did not approve of the creationist-backed supplements from International Databases, LLC. Four times as many people showed up to testify in favor of the scientifically accurate texts as showed up to oppose them.

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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Their shrinking ice floe habitat under constant assault by climate change, polar bears are taking to the water to preserve their species.  One female swam the equivalent distance between Boston and Washington D.C. in an effort to find more suitable habitat. The migration has caused a sad side-effect, as according to study author, George Durner, a USGS research zoologist, “Bears that engaged in long-distance swimming were more likely to experience cub loss.” Five of eleven polar bears that made these swims lost their cubs in the process.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The new toy is Automatic License Plate Reader/Recognition (ALPR), and a cool toy it is. It basically reads every license plate its cameras see and compares that data to a list. That list might contain the license plates of stolen vehicles, the license plates of drivers with suspended licenses or no insurance, and “Amber Alerts.” This all happens automatically, in real-time.

The systems also stores the date and time of every license plate and the corresponding GPS coordinates, even for law-abiding citizens. Therein lies the potential for abuse.

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My Boy Lollipop

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


Today we present Millie Small in glorious STEREO!

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Courtesy of Allison Made McBain

This morning we are off to the market in Mezin — a market that has existed for hundreds of years.  In lieu of a detailed blog this morning, I give you my friend, Allison Made McBane and one of her sons, Alexander.  They are wearing a mark called the “plague doctor” mask.  It was taken at the Chateau on the Roman well.

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Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

A startling thought occurred to me recently and that is while I’m only approaching the age of sixty-seven, I have lived in eight decades on this planet. Every one of those eight decades has had an American involvement in a foreign war. To be sure there is a massive degree of difference in magnitude let’s say between World War II and Grenada, but both were wars nonetheless. There is a common thread in all of these involvements that goes beyond the immediate causes and that is the quest for Empire. A persistent undertone in American thought has been expansive since Jefferson made The Louisiana Purchase. While this need to expand hasn’t always been present in the public political debate as a motivation, those whose thoughts held sway over the political and intellectual backbone of our country openly discussed it. While America, which initially remained primarily an agrarian nation, was expanding into the vast frontier of this continent, our dreams of empire focused on taming the country and overwhelming its Native American population. By the mid Nineteenth Century, the industrial revolution influenced American thought and the need to expand to acquire natural resources, replaced agrarian needs, while making the taming of the frontier more urgent.

Given our constitutional underpinnings and the magnificent sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, many felt qualms about our displacement of Native Americans in our expansion westward. Darwin’s Origin of The Species, published in 1859 became an instant sensation for intellectuals worldwide and for those with the power to shape a nation’s thought processes. Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest, was the new model for developing rationales and mythologies, which absolved the country of residual guilt in our struggle with the native population and allowed opinion shapers and ideologues to frame the issue in terms of the struggle of civilization against savagery.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Is much of America really in the midst of a brutal heat wave? Nah! It’s really not as hot as you may think—or feel. So says radio talk show host and weather meister Rush Limbaugh.  Ignore those news reports warning that the temperatures are soaring into the stratosphere. According to Rush, the mercury isn’t really rising as high inside thermometers as reports claim.

Here’s what Rush had to say recently about what’s really going on weatherwise:

They’re playing games with us on this heat wave, again. Even Drudge. Drudge getting sucked in here. Going to be 116 in Washington. No, it’s not. It’s gonna be like 100, maybe 99. A heat index, manufactured by the government to tell you what it feels like when you add the humidity in there.

116. When’s the last time the heat index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn’t been, but it looks like they’re trying to get away with doing that now. 116. Drudge is just linking to other people reporting. He’s not saying it, I don’t want to misunderstand, but he’s linking to stories which say 116 degrees in Washington. No!

It’s going to top out as 102, 103. It does this every year. We have this every year. There’s a heat dome over half the country, midwest is moving east. And it happens every summer. Every summer.

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Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

There is a trend today on television that is disturbing and I think harmful to our Country, yet we are powerless to halt its’ progress. This occurred to me as I watched an edition of ABC’s Primetime-Nightline entitled “Battle With the Devil”, which was advertised as a show that “investigates the belief in satanic will or possession by a demon”. I’d DVR’ed it because from the description, it was supposed to present various people who purport to have had demonic possession and or experiences of Satan. It also promised to include exorcists, psychologists and various other experts. The beliefs and actions of people always interest me. The more bizarre the belief system the more interesting I find the person. I’m fascinated by human extremes and as a therapist I’m always trying to puzzle out what makes someone tick. When the show ended though, I found myself angry at it and feeling somehow abused emotionally. That feeling began my train of thought that led to this post.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Norwegian television has identified a suspect in the shooting spree on the island Utoya as Anders Behring Breivik, 32, describing him as a member of “right-wing extremist groups in eastern Norway.” The shooting at the youth camp has reportedly resulted in more than 80 deaths.

In his Facebook account, now deleted, he describes himself as having Christian, conservative views. He also has a Twitter account with only one tweet, a quote from philosopher John Stuart Mills: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.”

If the reports are accurate, don’t expect denunciations of right-wing extremism from Fox News. If the event in Norway had been caused by a Muslim, would Fox News classify it as a terrorist attack instead of a massacre by a madman?

H/T: HuffPo, MSNBC.

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Tallahassee Lassie

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger


Today we have Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon in glorious STEREO!

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Day 3-4: Heux, France

Vines outside our guest house in Heux

What a day! We began with our wonderful Gascon breakfast with fresh pastries and fruits. We then went for a lunch of escargot and local delights in the little town of Montreal. After a visit to Roman ruins and the Medieval town of Larressingle, our hostess surprised Madie and I with a joint birthday with local families and huge fireworks.
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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Rarely do I disagree with our host, but on the Brown polygamy case we do. And not so much on the merits of the case as on the timing of it. I’ve said before I would decriminalize the practice of polygamy and regulate it much as we do other human relationships where there exists real risk of overreaching or exploitation. I think this approach serves the interests of the important right of privacy and protects the vulnerable.

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Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

In Atlanta, Georgia, Tiffany Denise Allen is charged with simple battery, simple assault and disorderly conduct.  While these charges may not be unusual in themselves, the circumstances surrounding them are.  Allen was a manger of a local McDonald’s restaurant.  She was off duty but on the premises when Jennifer Schwenker entered the McDonald’s in suburban Marietta with her autistic twins and service dog on July 12.  Apparently upset that Mrs. Schwenker brought her service dog into the restaurant, surveillance tapes show Allen proceeded to follow her around the store and out into the parking lot where Allen punched the woman in the face.  The recordings show other McDonald’s employees trying to restrain Allen.  The operators of the local franchise, J.M. and Jan Owens, are cooperating with police.  They told the Associated Press that “At our McDonald’s restaurant, we respect and value our customers. Their safety and well-being is always a top priority [. . .] We strive to comply with all applicable laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It is our policy to make our restaurants accessible to all customers, including those with disabilities and special needs, whether or not they need the assistance of service animals.”  McDonald’s says Allen is no longer in their employ.  Clearly McDonald’s and the Owens’ have done the right thing in response so far, but the scenario does raise some questions.

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Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

More potential bad news for Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. as Thursday’s Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing subpoenas relating to alleged foreign bribery and alleged hacking of voicemail of Sept. 11 victims.  This is in addition to a separate FBI probe into the  alleged hacking of voicemail of Sept. 11 victims and a possible FCPA-related (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act)  investigation by the SEC related to allegations of bribing police in Great Britain.  There are also a substantial number of civil suits springing up related to the activities of News Corp.’s now shuttered News of the World operation.  While Murdoch and News Corp. have attempted to contain the damage done by the News of the World U.K. phone hacking scandal, it seems like their efforts are failing as the investigation into their operations expands across the Atlantic.  The real question lies with A.G. Eric Holder’s Department of Justice willingness to act.

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 Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Yesterday, a group of “gay barbarians” entered Marcus Bachmann’s Christian counseling center in Minnesota and demanded to be disciplined by Marcus himself.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

When the severed head of a wolf, wrapped in women’s lingerie, turned up near the northern Saudi Arabian city of Tabouk,  the Anti-Witchcraft Unit swung into action to break the spell that used the wolf’s head. Superstitious belief in magic and witchcraft is widespread in the kingdom. The Saudis have banned the Harry Potter series of books because of its tales of magic and sorcery.

The superstition that is Islam can provide no logical relief from belief in other superstitions.

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

We have previously discussed the case of Widener School of Law professor Lawrence Connell who was suspended after using Dean Linda Ammons in hypotheticals in class (here and here).  Connell had been charged with engaging in racial and sexual discrimination and harassment in how he taught his criminal law class.

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Day 2-3: Heux, France

View from the Church tower in La Romieu

Our second day in Heux was glorious. We ate outside with the kids on local pizza and fresh vegetables — with, of course, local wines. We then went to two wonderful towns, La Romieu and Fources.

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Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger

It is probably just me, but it seems that every time we hear about a proposed deal to extend the debt limit and avert a government shutdown and a debt default, the plan does nothing more than cut the taxes on the wealthiest Americans and Corporations.  The latest proposal by the so-called Gang of Six is just one more example of Congress attacking the Middle Class. (more…)

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