My stepmother, Madeline Morgan Bond Fisher, died today at about 4:30 p.m. She was 95. Her daughter and my half-sister, Revan, and Madeline's longtime companion, Bill Samaha, were at her side.
A good woman.
A good woman.
|Martin Luther King, Jr., center, on April 3, 1968|
In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age 39, his children have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy, sometimes with sharply different views on how best to do that. But they are unanimous on one key point: James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King.
For the King family and others in the civil rights movement, the FBI’s obsession with King in the years leading up to his slaying in Memphis on April 4, 1968 — pervasive surveillance, a malicious disinformation campaign and open denunciations by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — laid the groundwork for their belief that he was the target of a plot.
[Judge Stephen] Reinhardt joined another judge in ruling in 2002 that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional.Glad to have lived in a time he infused.
Then-President George W. Bush called the decision ridiculous, and California’s Democratic governor at the time, Gray Davis, defended the pledge as “one of our most profound human expressions of American patriotism.”
The 9th Circuit later overturned the decision, but not without a dissent from Reinhardt, who maintained that “under God” had an unconstitutional religious purpose....
Reinhardt died of a heart attack during a visit to a dermatologist in Los Angeles....
When working at Doubleday book publishers, I one night went out to dinner with a British co-worker named Susan, who, in that long ago and faraway time, was determined to become the first woman prime minister of England. This was pre-Margaret-Thatcher. Also Susan was arguably the smartest and most verbally dexterous of all the women I knew. She was often exhaustingly bright.
Some 150 debaters from 18 schools across the U.S. and Canada will compete in the special tournament, which is designed to be a safe space for women who complain of bias when they debate against men....
The women at UVM recognize the women-only tournament can make them targets of people who feel they are asking for special treatment, but say it’s good to raise awareness of the issue.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has ruled that California law requires coffee companies to carry a cancer warning label.Well, shit! Without coffee, my life would hardly be my life any more. Good thing I'm damn near dead.
Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said in a proposed decision Wednesday that Starbucks and other coffee companies failed to show the threat from a chemical compound produced in the coffee roasting process was insignificant.
Kamookak compared Inuit stories with explorers’ logbooks and journals to develop a working theory of where the ships might be.The 'nobodies' and the scientists ... there is something satisfying in all this.
He shared these thoughts with Canadian archaeologists, and was eventually vindicated in a spectacular fashion when, using his directions, divers located the HMS Erebus in 2014, and two years later, the Terror.
The faith-based genre is showing Hollywood that age and diversity are not necessarily antithetical to box-office success, and offer starring roles to actors who may no longer be at the top of casting directors’ call-in lists.The book was a kind of one-note concerto about a man who spends the weekend in the country as he coped with his young daughter's brutal kidnap and murder. His weekend is attended by God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and by the man's own revision of his world/religious views. The book was very popular, the cover announced. I had never heard of it. The Christianity platform, while laid on, was not unbearable.
“In last year’s hit The Shack, God was played by a black woman, an Asian woman played the Holy Spirit and Jesus was played by an Israeli,” says Peter Chattaway, reviewer for the faith-based film site, Patheos.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chanting “never again,” hundreds of thousands of young Americans and their supporters answered a call to action from survivors of last month’s Florida high school massacre and rallied across the United States on Saturday to demand tighter gun laws.While my son had been away, the U.S. had passed a tax bill that improved the lot of the obscenely wealthy. Arms manufacturers -- Boeing, General Dynamics, drone makers, and other coupon clippers -- got a big boost. Killing brown people abroad was acceptable and even enjoyed a certain cachet in American ghettos. Make America great again ... but shooting kids in schools meant your kids and mine were at risk.
In some of the biggest U.S. youth demonstrations for decades, protesters called on lawmakers and President Donald Trump to confront the issue. Voter registration activists fanned out in the crowds, signing up thousands of the nation’s newest voters.At the largest March For Our Lives protest, demonstrators jammed Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue where they listened to speeches from survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
TREBES, France (AP) — The Latest on the extremist attack in southern France (all times local):When I was growing up in the news business, the line might have read: "France is mourning the death of a police officer who offered himself up to an Islamic extremist gunman in exchange for a hostage during an attack on a supermarket."
France is mourning the death of a courageous (emphasis added) police officer who offered himself up to an Islamic extremist gunman in exchange for a hostage during an attack on a supermarket.
A rural school district in Pennsylvania is arming teachers and students with buckets of rocks as a last resort should an armed intruder burst in, the superintendent said Friday.The technique and perhaps desperation is tinged with the scents of the Palestinians when they take on Israelis with uniformly dubious results: Knife-wielding Palestinians are routinely shot dead in confrontations that are then announced in the media by righteous and indignant Israelis... as if Palestinians had never heard of more lethal weapons and Israeli security forces lacked training in safely disarming a knife-wielding foe.
Every classroom in the district about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia has a 5-gallon bucket of river stones, said Blue Mountain School District Superintendent David Helsel.
“It feels like the golden age of documentary right now,” says Josh Koury, a professor at Pratt Institute and a documentary filmmaker. “It’s an amazing time to be making documentary stories”...The commonality of culture ("I don't want to die," for example) has somehow been shredded by individuals and groups with loud voices and little care. There's too much information that ends up transmitting too little information. Those who lean on "Jesus Christ," for example, ignore the great likelihood that he was a brown man, middle-sized in stature, who came from a middle-class environment (spoke three languages) and the unlikelihood that he was some shuffling, head-bowed, humble-pie guy (see Hallmark calendars) without any but a loving agenda. Donald Trump's constituency, the ones who felt left out and left behind, are more numerous than anyone thought. Upscale exceptionalists and TED talkers are more confusing than they are healing. It's time to check in with people who are as confused as I am, as lonelified and insignificant as I. Documentaries give me company where the it-is-what-it-is crowd skirt the issue and dissemble, whatever their intentions.
“We’re having a kind of crisis of logic and a crisis of language where it feels like words don’t mean things anymore and nothing has to make sense,”[filmmaker Sabaah Folayan] said. “People are more thirsty for this content. People are recognizing that they need to know about others and this is the way to do it.”
Kick Axe Throwing is the first bar in New York City to pick up on a nationwide trend of ax throwing, a growing sport that some enthusiasts hope will take off the way bowling did in the last century.Aside from anything else, knowing how to throw and ax would allow people to put something interesting on their curricula vitae/resumes under "hobbies."
“People are like, ‘Sharp objects and beer? What a great idea that is.’ But truthfully, after you have a couple drinks you start to actually throw a little bit better,” said Alexander Stine, an “axepert” at Kick Axe. He honed his own skills growing up in Colorado throwing knives at carnivals and now trains newcomers on proper technique. “It’s about believing in your ability to do something you didn’t think you could do before.”
|Kratos Mako drone|
Make America great again ... toss in "international standards" ... round up the believers and thieves... andWASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will soon make it easier to export some types of lethal U.S.-made drones to potentially dozens more allies and partners, according to people familiar with the plan.Trump is expected to ease rules for such foreign sales under a long-delayed new policy on unmanned military aircraft due to be rolled out as early as this month, the first phase of a broader overhaul of arms export regulations....Even though Trump will stop short of completely opening up sales of top-of-the-line lethal drones, it will mark a major step toward overcoming a long-standing U.S. taboo against selling armed drones to countries other than a handful of Washington’s most trusted allies. Military drones have changed the face of modern warfare, with U.S. models in greatest demand....A Trump administration official, responding to a request for comment on the story, said the U.S. government is seeking to “minimize the self-inflicted bureaucratic and administrative hurdles to U.S. competitiveness in the global aerospace markets.”...The official insisted, however, that any sales of armed drones would be in accordance with U.S. law and require that buyers adhere to international standards.An increase in drones sales “could put these weapons in the hands of governments that act irresponsibly with their neighbors and against their own populations,” warned Jeff Abramson, a senior fellow with the Arms Control Association, a non-partisan Washington-based organization focused on global weapons proliferation threats.
Industry sources say other manufacturers are considering expanding their product lines.The overall loosening of drone export rules would also help producers such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Lockheed Martin, two industry sources said.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union says international donors have raised 456 million euros ($560 million) to build a desalination plant in the Gaza Strip to provide around 2 million people with safe drinking water.At a pledging conference in Brussels on Tuesday, the EU offered more than 77 million euros, which combined with other donations will meet around 80 percent of the plant's costs.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As a teenager working for his dad’s construction business, Noah Ready-Campbell dreamed that robots could take over the dirty, tedious parts of his job, such as digging and leveling soil for building projects.Dirt and sweat and muscle have their drawbacks. First there are the clean folks in clean cubicles who almost uniformly seem to know what perfume will humble the stink of sweat but talk more than they walk. Second, muscle doesn't last forever and some security in life is desirable. And there are others.
Now the former Google engineer is turning that dream into a reality with Built Robotics, a startup that’s developing technology to allow bulldozers, excavators and other construction vehicles to operate themselves....
The rise of construction robots comes as the building industry faces a severe labor shortage.
A recent survey by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 70 percent of construction firms are having trouble finding skilled workers.
“To get qualified people to handle a loader or a haul truck or even run a plant, they’re hard to find right now,” said Mike Moy, a mining plant manager at Lehigh Hanson. “Nobody wants to get their hands dirty anymore. They want a nice, clean job in an office.”
A soft breeze
Removes last year's leaves
From off the path ahead
As I put away the rake.
“It is my religious conviction that a male cannot have a husband. It is also my belief that to publish anything contrary to God’s Word on this issue would be to publish something in the newspaper that is not true.Tampering with someone else's life choices may be understandable in one sense, but in a framework that touts itself as loving (Christianity), it is simply narrow and gross and hypocritical. The indecency that one person sees in another person's choices is exceeded only by the indecency of not allowing -- even in death -- the choices that were made.
“The newspaper respects the first amendment rights of those who express such opinions. The newspaper’s decision to edit the obituary is both ethical and lawful. It would be unethical to publish a news item that is known by the editor to be false. Based on the truth found in the Word of God, I could not in good conscience identify Mr Gambill as the husband of Mr Giles.”
As free agency kicked off the start of a new football season, the NFL sent a clear message to anyone paying attention:I don't know enough about sports to know how apt this criticism is, but it smells right... and it stinks.
Colin Kaepernick, you’re still not wanted.
Probably not ever.
Oh, and while we’re at it, it’s pretty clear the owners have every intention of clamping down on any other players who tries to carry on Kaepernick’s legacy.
Rattled by another big dip in the television ratings and an increasing number of empty seats, the league seems determined to banish peaceful protest from the playing field.
While it’s quite a stretch to say those trends are intimately related — injuries, bad games and poor showings by several of the league’s most popular teams were surely bigger factors in the waning popularity — the guys sitting on what remains an enormous cash cow aren’t taking any chances.
Since Kaepernick is the one who got this whole thing started by having the audacity to silently kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice — the nerve of that guy! — his career could very well be over.
owned up to making things up.That's our current president. He seems to think he really is "as cute as a button."
For a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump was by his own admission unprepared — deficient in the fundamentals of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship that he’d been railing about since the campaign.
He insisted to Trudeau that the U.S. was running a trade deficit with Canada, a statement contradicted by U.S. government statistics. He was winging it, he confided to donors at a private Missouri political fundraiser Wednesday night.
“I didn’t even know,” he said. “I had no idea.”
Others might be mortified at being caught short. Not this president.
For Trump the showman, the episode illustrated his skill at improvisation. Still, it was a rare admission that he will say things without knowing if they are true.
Trump’s impulse to replace fact with fiction has defined him as a politician and as a businessman before that.
The head of the Bali office of Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications, Nyoman Sujaya, said Tuesday that all phone companies have agreed to shut down the mobile internet for 24 hours during “Nyepi,” a day marking New Year on the predominantly Hindu island.There are some exceptions -- hospitals, cops, etc. -- but to declare a holiday from electronic addictions is ... well, it makes me feel some sort of cosmic relief. At least someone is trying to reconfigure restless and dissatisfied minds. It's just one day, so the penance is hardly unendurable: Shut up for a while.
That means smartphones won’t connect to the internet, shutting off access to social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram and instant messaging apps.
“Let’s rest a day, free from the internet to feel the calm of the mind,” said Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, head of the Indonesian Hinduism Society. “Many Hindu people are addicted to gadgets,” he said. “I hope during Nyepi they can be introspective.”
There can hardly be any more extraordinary story from the Hollywood golden age than that of Hedy Lamarr; a very beautiful star with a moderate acting talent but an untutored brilliance in science and engineering that should by now be getting her compared to Nikola Tesla, or maybe even a neglected female scientist like Rosalind Franklin. Her tragedy was that she was in the wrong business, precisely that business that promotes beauty over brains – the movie business. Alexandra Dean’s excellent and important documentary about her is very instructive – a parable of modern sexual politics and assumptions about science.I guess you don't have to be ugly to be brilliant ... but maybe it helps a little?
BEIJING (AP) — Xi Jinping, already China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, received a vastly expanded mandate Sunday as lawmakers abolished presidential term limits that have been in place for more than 35 years and wrote his political philosophy into the country’s constitution.As the mind-muzzlers are wont to exult, "it's all good."
In one swift vote, the rubber-stamp legislature opened up the possibility of Xi serving as president for life, returning China to the one-man-rule system that prevailed during the era of Mao and the emperors who came before him.
I would be willing to bet that each senator has at least one and probably more American-flag lapel pins. They care, after all, about the possibility of losing American and other lives.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. is bolstering its military presence in Afghanistan, more than 16 years after the war started. Is anyone paying attention?Consider this: At a Senate hearing this past week on top U.S. security threats, the word "Afghanistan" was spoken exactly four times, each during introductory remarks. In the ensuing two hours of questions for intelligence agency witnesses, no senator asked about Afghanistan, suggesting little interest in a war with nearly 15,000 U.S. troops supporting combat against the Taliban.
Of course these revisions in life come and go in popularity and the older I get, the lazier I become, but my cowardice does not mean others need to be wimps as well. Opting out of one mind set generally means opting in to another. Maybe one day I will grow up and recognize that what I do is OK as long as it doesn't unduly hurt others.Extreme frugality allowed me to retire at 32 – and regain control of my lifeElizabeth Willard Thames abandoned a successful career in the city and embraced frugality to create a more meaningful life. It enabled her to retire at 32 with her family to a homestead in the Vermont woods
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The sleek, green-and-white trains glide past the congested, ragged streets of Addis Ababa along the city’s new light rail — built and financed by China. The towering silver African Union headquarters here was built by China, too. So was the new ring road system around the city. And the new railway connecting landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti.The Chinese footprint has been established over a number of years. Somebody somewhere has been doing some thinking. The United States has meanwhile been sharpening its capacity to whine. The implicit suggestion that American aid would come without strings attached ... oh, c'mon guys!
Across the Atlantic Ocean, America has noticed.
From Ethiopia to Djibouti, Kenya to Egypt, the United States is sounding the alarm that the Chinese money flooding Africa comes with significant strings attached. The warnings carry distinct neocolonial undertones: With Beijing’s astonishing investments in ports, roads and railways, the U.S. says, come dependency, exploitation and intrusion on nations’ basic sovereignty.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter loves lies. A new study finds that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people.But if you tell enough lies, don't you end up lying to yourself ... which is already a habit that leaves the opiod epidemic in the shade? Actually, what worries me more than lying when contrasted with truth is the apparent blindness to the fact that lies are very seldom as creative and intricate and downright interesting as the truth.
And you can’t blame bots; it’s us, say the authors of the largest study of online misinformation.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016 — before Donald Trump took office but during the combative presidential campaign. They found that “fake news” sped through Twitter “farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information,” according to the study in Thursday’s journal Science .