150px-muslim_woman_in_yemen220px-Hydrochloric_acid_ammoniaWe often discuss the disconnect of religious fanatics who rape or beat or kill women and girls in the name of morality. Often such abuses seems to be condoned by governments like Iran. However, after a series of acid attacks on women for not being properly veiled, the Iranian government is actually investigating and denouncing the attacks.

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220px-Air_Raid_Precautions_on_the_British_Home_Front-_Anti-gas_Instruction,_c_1941_D3948The 34th Beijing International Marathon was held on Sunday — an event long-planned by the government to highlight its economic development and tourism. It did not work out quite that way. Instead of a marathon, the race looked like a competition to see who could hold their breath for over 26 miles after pollution levels surpassed the hazardous level. It looked more like a medical emergency with hundreds of runners using oxygen masks to breath and using sponges to clean off pollution on their skin. The government of course reported only “moderate” pollution. When the Chinese government says that pollution is moderate, it may be time to be a couch potato at home like this lovely couple.

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Flag_of_Mississippi.svgA_Southern_chain_gang_c1903-restoreThere is a rather shocking statistic being reported out of the International Centre for Prison Studies this week: Mississippi locks up more people per capita than China and Russia combined. It turns out the “Hospitality State” may continue to have one of the lowest rankings in public education and employment but they will put you in jail faster than Vladimir Putin can say do svidaniya.

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1413674604634_Image_galleryImage_cop_shoots_dog_Circled5244341_GThere is a highly disturbing controversy in Texas where a couple sys that the Cleburne, Texas police effectively executed their pit bull, Maximus. They say that the videotape shown below confirms the lack of necessity to use lethal force.

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Voter ID Unmasked


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. Continue Reading »

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Good afternoon folks, and welcome to the sports holy day known as NFL Sunday. We mostly all love it. The collisions, the sparkling cheerleaders, the feats of athleticism that would have made an ancient Greek Olympian proud. It’s all there – drama, excitement, pageantry, bright colors and morality. Yep there’s bad boys (think Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens) and good guys (anybody named Manning or Russell Wilson) and there’s music – marching bands, pep bands, loud speakers blaring just about any rap, punk, pop, or country song you like depending on locale. Football is king! Long Live The King!

But the king has had better seasons.

From the professional gladiators to the high school gladiators-in-training, football’s morality play has come off the skids. The carefully cultivated image of athlete as hero that echoes through the centuries from the plains at Marathon to an Olympic stadium in 1936 Berlin overseen by a bad man with a bad mustache, yes, and all the way to modern day techno-proficient, thunder booming, firework blasting sports theatres, Football America is suffering.

Maybe it was avarice or a sense of invulnerability or most likely hubris. All of football was riding high early this year. The NFL was enjoying record profits even having the audacity to ask its halftime acts to pay it for the privilege of sweating it out before millions of Americans at home and in person.  It was pushing the Old Man of US sports, Major League Baseball, from the headlines by moving its pre-season draft of players to prime time in … gasp … May, smack in the middle of  baseball season. The colleges had just finished a game of musical chairs and chicken all at the same time and got the venerable, doting NCAA to approve a bowl championship, an acknowledgment of the 5 Big Boy Conferences, and the shunning of anything approaching governing the Big 5.

Yes football was riding high — but there were signs of looming disasters to come.

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Home Sweet Home

IMG_1470While I loved Italy and Sicily, I did long to return to my hikes on my favorite trails in Maryland and Virginia. I did my usual dawn hike this morning on Billy Goat trail and it was glorious with the leaves changing and the crisp autumn wind.

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