Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

Word on this street is, Eric Cantor is attempting to humanize himself. It's the usual patter for the usual rubes: he dotes on his children, is happiest among his flowers &c. For some reason, this reminds me of the memoir I once read by a German camp guard, in which he said something like "no prisoner can truly say he was ever ill-treated in my home." Surely, this good man's reward will be great in Heaven.

Paul Ryan is also a tragically misunderstood champion of the downtrodden. Here, he informs us that "the safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams and no one in Washington seems to care." (See that guy over there? He wants to steal your money! I'll hold your wallet while you kick his ass.)

Not exactly a cheery opening, I know. But sometimes, it's good to remember that it's better to lose than to be like the "winners."

In Yemen, women are burning their veils:

Thousands of women gathered in the capital, Sanaa, said witnesses. They carried banners that read: "Saleh the butcher is killing women and is proud of it" and "Women have no value in the eyes in Ali Saleh."

They collected their veils and scarves in a huge pile and set it ablaze -- an act that is highly symbolic in the conservative Islamic nation, where women use their veils to cover their faces and bodies. It's the first time in the nine months of Yemen's uprising that such an event has occurred.

One of Gov. Rick Scott's revenue streams seems to have dried up:

The court reaffirmed that testing urine for drugs is a search, that application for a public benefit cannot depend on an unconstitutional condition, and that the state of Florida had fallen woefully short of establishing any need to conduct suspicionless testing.

The judge's order also chastised the Florida legislature for failing to heed lessons it should have learned in a state-commissioned pilot study of TANF recipients in Florida: they are no more likely to use illegal drugs than the population at large.

In related news, a Missouri judge has ruled that "Linn State Technical College’s mandatory drug-testing policy is patently unconstitutional":
[T]he school had implemented mandatory, suspicionless drug-testing of all incoming students, as well as students who were returning to school after an extended absence. The policy came with little warning and a $50 price tag per test – paid by the students. In implementing the policy, Linn State sought foolishly to go where no public college had gone before – and where we hope none will go in the future, thanks to the judge’s ruling.
A federal judge has dismissed Jan Brewer's frivolous lawsuit against the gummint:

The Republican governor was seeking a court order that would require the federal government to take extra steps, such as more border fencing, to protect Arizona until the border is controlled.

Bolton said Brewer’s claim that Washington has failed to protect Arizona from an “invasion” of illegal immigrants was a political question that isn’t appropriate for the court to decide.

Scientists have apparently found a therapy for the Hendra virus:

A new treatment for the deadly Hendra virus has proven successful in primate tests — a major step forward in combating the virus, which kills about 60 percent of those it infects and has been implicated in sporadic outbreaks in Australia ever since it was first identified in 1994.

The BLE has blocked new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon for 20 years:

The announcement confirmed that the Obama administration was proceeding with a plan that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in July and is expected to make final in 30 days. The decision withdraws a right to Western public lands that mining companies otherwise would have under the 1872 Mining Law

Here's yet another reason that Arctic drilling is a bad idea:
A study in the Alaskan Arctic, employing camera traps, has shown that oil drilling impacts migrating birds in an unexpected way. The study found that populations of opportunistic predators, which prey on bird eggs or fledglings, may increase in oil drilling areas, putting extra pressure on nesting birds.
Leaded gasoline has been almost completely phased out worldwide:
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), working with NRDC in the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, today announced toxic lead has been removed from gasoline in more than 175 countries worldwide, representing near-global eradication. A new, independent scientific analysis shows the result of this achievement is a 90 percent drop in blood lead levels worldwide, as well as 1.2 million lives saved each year and $2.4 trillion generated in health, social and economic benefits annually.
The UN predicts that the fuel will be totally eliminated by 2013.

A number of banks have decided not to impose monthly fees for debit card use. However, they would like it known that this decision comes from a purely inward communion with the Absolute, and should not be taken to imply that consumer pressure works:

J.P. Morgan joins U.S. Bancorp, Citigroup Inc., PNC Financial Services Group Inc., KeyCorp and other large banks that have said in recent days that they won't impose monthly fees on debit cards. None of those banks said they made their decisions because of the outcry over Bank of America's fees.

This world is adorned in diverse ways, decorated with rare ornaments:
Imagine a one-celled organism the size of a mango. It's not science fiction, but fact: scientists have cataloged dozens of giant one-celled creatures, around 4 inches (10 centimeters), in the deep abysses of the world's oceans. But recent exploration of the Mariana Trench has uncovered the deepest record yet of the one-celled behemoths, known as xenophyophores.
Jack the Cat has turned up alive and well:

"Jack the Cat" is back from his two-month foray into the netherworld of JFK Airport in the New York City suburbs, the New York Post and other news organizations report.

The feisty feline, who gained international attention, escaped after owner Karen Pascoe checked him in at American Airlines to relocate to California....

Aviation staffers at JFK captured Jack on Tuesday as he tumbled through the ceiling tiles inside a Customs and Border Patrol room, the Post reports.

(h/t: Cheryl.)

There'd be more, but Blogger ate about a quarter of this post and I don't have the time or patience to rebuild it. Honest!

Books in books. Family planning posters from China. Drugs from the colonies. Leaves. The iconography of the ornamental map. The Society for Commercial Archaeology. The plural of Texas. An 18th-c. fold-in. An admonitory revenant. Native American audio collections. And Saturn's moons and rings.

(Photo at top by S. Gayle Stevens.)

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