A guest in a traditional Southern home, now a comfortable inn, I was sitting and musing — not to put too fine a point on it — on the toilet. The bathroom wasn’t private, but only in the sense that it was in a public area and any guest could use it. At the time, though, it was mine, at least until I unlocked the door.
Without warning, a startling “click!” interrupted my reverie and disrupted my composure. Spooked, I looked toward the sound and spotted a sinister device that was almost hidden from view across from me in the narrow space between the sink and the wall. It appeared to have an eye or a lens, and in far less time than it takes to write this, I thought of the ineluctable surveillance cameras that dog us everywhere, recording every move, taking note of height, clothing, headgear, companions — everything. In fact, I had just taken part in a discussion about the complete loss of any remaining shred of privacy in the 21st century. Continue reading
Community Reels After 5-Year-Old Kills Little Sister With His New Rifle
Talking Points Memo leads with that story at noon today:
In rural southern Kentucky, some children get their first guns even before they start first grade. In this case, the rifle was made by a company that sells guns specifically for children, in colors ranging from plain brown to hot pink to royal blue to multi-color swirls.
This gun story blew me away. A five-year-old wielding a deadly weapon is bad enough. That he kills his little sister with it is breath-takingly shocking. But I’m still reeling over the marketing of guns specifically to children and increasing their appeal with bright colors. Continue reading
Lifting my head up from the desk for a little fresh air and a bit of entertainment, I found SCREENGRAB from Willie Witte. This picture within a picture is one more clever entry in what is becoming a paper-themed mini-series. Older ones are Quirky paper silhouettes (thousands of animated paper cutouts) and Paper will survive (you need to be a Vimeo member to view this one).
Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan Mental Health Break
Coal is the biggest impediment to solving the climate crisis and reducing pollution. Coal-burning power plants are the biggest worldwide source of CO₂ emissions produced by human activity. Fossil fuels, including coal, poison the air we breathe, cause epidemics of lung disease and asthma and scarier still, they are changing the earth’s climate. (Click here to see an energy expert’s 25-year plan to phase out coal, oil and nuclear power)
Why then, are we still burning coal and oil and gas?
There are many reasons. Coal is abundant in the U.S. and relatively cheap. So long as coal continues to generate huge corporate profits and the entrenched power of the fossil fuel industry intimidates or buys off politicians, coal-fired plants will continue to poison the earth and its inhabitants.
Corporate interests should not be able to buy legislators. When they do, the public interest and welfare be damned. Money talks and democracy dies. Continue reading
A tradition in Washington for the past 99 years, the White House Correspondents’Dinner was an occasion for reporters to bring their sources and interact informally with each other and the president. Recently, celebrities from Hollywood and Washington join the crowd.
A well known comedian follows the president’s stand-up routine.
This year it was Conan O’Brien’s turn. Watch Conan cracking jokes after the break. Continue reading
Pres. Obama at 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner
Pres. Obama pulled no punches Saturday night at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Having been re-elected, the President’s confidence was obvious. Obama enjoys his one-liners — he’s not one to let a chance like this one to pass him by. He let the zingers fly.
The audience howled, cracked up and smiled knowingly at the inside-the-Beltway jokes at the expense of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), birthers, all manner of critics and even some friends.
The President put on a good show. Watch the video after the break and enjoy. Continue reading
Coal is dirty and deadly:
Miners die of black lung, emphysema, kidney disease, brain tumors and other cancers, if they aren’t first killed in mining accidents.
One of the byproducts of coal mining is a toxic sludge that poisons the earth and discharges toxins into ground- and drinking water. Strip mining and mountain top removal devastate the landscape and sicken people.
Burning coal releases contaminants like highly toxic heavy metals (mercury, lead, etc.), noxious gases and particulates into the air.
And that’s just for openers.
There is no such thing as clean coal, though the industry spends millions of dollars in advertising to convince the public otherwise and lavishes even more millions on politicians to buy their votes. And they are winning. Continue reading