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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 7,007

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Book banning in Texas schools: Titles are pulled off library shelves in record numbers

From a secluded spot in her high school library, a 17-year-old girl spoke softly into her cellphone, worried that someone might overhear her say the things she’d hidden from her parents for years. They don’t know she’s queer, the student told a reporter, and given their past comments about homosexuality’s being a sin, she’s long feared they would learn her secret if they saw what she reads in the library.

That space, with its endless rows of books about characters from all sorts of backgrounds, has been her “safe haven,” she said — one of the few places where she feels completely free to be herself.

But books, including one of her recent favorites, have been vanishing from the shelves of Katy Independent School District libraries the past few months.

Gone: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” a book she’d read last year about a gay teenager who isn’t shy about discussing his adventurous sex life. Also banished: “The Handsome Girl and Her Beautiful Boy,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “Lawn Boy” — all coming-of-age stories that prominently feature LGBTQ characters and passages about sex. Some titles were removed after parents formally complained, but others were quietly banned by the district without official reviews.

“As I’ve struggled with my own identity as a queer person, it’s been really, really important to me that I have access to these books,” said the girl, whom NBC News is not naming to avoid revealing her sexuality. “And I’m sure it’s really important to other queer kids. You should be able to see yourself reflected on the page.”


Below is a link to an article featuring the 50 books most banned in TEXASS (I'll spell it that way until Gov. Hot Wheels and his minions are gone, don't get on my case). One of the books on the list is Monday's Not Coming. I read it last year, and it affected me profoundly in ways I'm still trying to process. I highly recommend it.

Swedish firm deploys crows to pick up cigarette butts

Crows are being recruited to pick up discarded cigarette butts from the streets and squares of a Swedish city as part of a cost-cutting drive.

The wild birds carry out the task as they receive a little food for every butt that they deposit in a bespoke machine designed by a startup in Södertälje, near Stockholm.

“They are wild birds taking part on a voluntary basis,” said Christian Günther-Hanssen, the founder of Corvid Cleaning, the company behind the method.

The Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation says that more than 1bn cigarette butts are left on Sweden’s streets each year, representing 62% of all litter. Södertälje spends 20m Swedish kronor (£1.6m) on street cleaning.

Günther-Hanssen estimates his method could save at least 75% of costs involved with picking up cigarette butts in the city.


Trump tore up records turned over to House Capitol attack committee

Some of the White House records turned over to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack were ripped up by Donald Trump, the National Archives said.

It also emerged on Tuesday that the former president thinks his own vice-president, Mike Pence, should be investigated by the committee, for failing to reject electoral college results on the fateful day.

Documents obtained by the January 6 panel include diaries, schedules, handwritten notes, speeches and remarks. The supreme court rejected Trump’s attempt to stop the National Archives turning them over to Congress.

In a statement, the Archives said: “Some of the Trump presidential records received by the National Archives and Records Administration included paper records that had been torn up by former president Trump.

“These were turned over to the National Archives at the end of the Trump administration, along with a number of torn-up records that had not been reconstructed by the White House. The Presidential Records Act requires that all records created by presidents be turned over to the National Archives at the end of their administrations.”


Furry Panic Is the Latest Dumb GOP Attack on Public Schools

It happened every time a school board member spoke up about changes to the Central York School District’s COVID-19 plan. “Meow!” a group of four people would taunt from the back of the room. “Cat!”

Amelia McMillan, a parent in the Pennsylvania district, recognized the four people. They’d supported Central York’s recent (and now overturned) ban on certain school books, many of them about race. After the mid-January meeting ended, McMillan said she saw the group corner a local father in a hallway.

“They were yelling at him about his kid being a furry,” McMillan told The Daily Beast. The group cited “an email someone sent to the board about furries. I heard him say, ‘Leave my kid out of this.’ Two administrators from the school broke up this interaction and shuffled the four aggressors out of the building, and then asked the father if he was alright. He told everyone standing there (myself included) that they were calling his child a furry and he asked them to stop.”

Furries are a subculture of people who craft alter-egos as anthropomorphized animals. A furry might draw himself as a cartoon tiger, or dress up as a dragon at a convention for fellow enthusiasts. It’s a decades-old genre and, relative to other available subcultures, fairly wholesome.

So why are school boards attendees in a panic about supposed furries in the classroom?

Is there anything these idiots won't believe?

Happy Lunar New Year: Hey Tiger, good luck! We'll need it.

Thuan Le Elston

As we welcome the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, let's give a collective hug to the Year of the Ox because in the past year, COVID-19 vaccinations allowed our family and friends to hug again. I'm not even a hugger, but I shamelessly and desperately went a little crazy reuniting with loved ones.

Because Lunar New Year is tied to the year's first new moon, it starts anytime from mid-January to mid-February. Last year, the holiday fell on Feb. 12; this year it's Feb. 1. The Middle English word for fortune, chance, luck or lot was "hap" or "happe." From it comes haphazard, hapless, happenstance, perhaps. If you've experienced more good luck than bad, you're happy.

"Happy," then, like "lunar" has no chance of being constant. Unlike Jan. 1 of New Year's Day.
From my journal dated Jan. 1, 2020 – "What a major year (this) will be: three kids graduating; a presidential election; a family trip to Vietnam, we hope."

As poet Mary Oliver wrote, "What is so utterly invisible as tomorrow?"

COVID lockdown in the Year of the Rat
Jan. 25, 2020, began the Year of the Rat, which is the first among a dozen animals in the Chinese zodiac. How did the rat beat out ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig?


Massive fire at North Carolina plant may cause blast

The City of Winston-Salem is asking people within one mile of a raging blaze at a fertilizer plant to evacuate due to the possibility of a large explosion.

WGHP-TV reported that the fire started Monday night at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant on North Cherry Street. City officials have confirmed small explosions at the plant.

Bright orange flames could be seen shooting into the sky along with thick plumes of smoke as lights from firetrucks and other first responder vehicles surrounded the fully engulfed building.

The Winston-Salem Police Department said in a news release that a portion of the road was closed while emergency crews, including about 90 firefighters and 150 others from different agencies, responded to the fire around 8:20 p.m. on Monday and it remains closed.

Reminding you that ammonium nitrate was the explosive used in the Oklahoma City bombing......

QAnon Thought Leader Ron Watkins Is Running for Congress. It's Going Terribly.

When Ron Watkins announced he was running for Congress in Arizona in the middle of October, he was full of hope and bravado.

“I am going to raise at least a million dollars, and I’m going to win so that the people have a real voice in Washington, D.C.,” he told VICE News at the time.

Three months later, however, Watkins’ campaign appears dead in the water after his first campaign finance report reveals the former administrator of 8kun, the fringe message board where QAnon flourished, has raised just over $30,000 in donations.

Watkins filed his first campaign finance report just before the deadline passed at midnight on Monday, revealing that in the three months to the end of December, he raised just $30,588.22 in small donations from supporters.

His campaign received an additional cash injection of $2,354 in the form of a loan from his father Jim Watkins, who owns 8kun.


Hercules Posey: George Washington's unsung enslaved chef

Each year, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sees millions of heritage-seeking tourists who traipse the reconstructed brick pathways of the old city, eager to see the sites that birthed ideas of American liberty such as Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and the iconic Liberty Bell. But like its ties to democracy, Philadelphia's connection to great American food culture has roots that reach into the distant past, roots that until recently have been obscured in the history books.

Much of the fledgeling nation's culinary excellence was achieved in the homes of its Founding Fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, where high-end cuisine was perfected not by white cooks but by enslaved chefs of African descent. These highly skilled chefs were influenced by the city's bountiful European, Caribbean and Native American exchange of culinary ideas and techniques, as well as their own heritage.

According to Dr Kelley Fanto Deetz, author of Bound to the Fire: How Virginia's Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine, a mix of West African, European, Native American foodways collided in the colonies, by force," she said, "and this collision found a world stage in places like Washington's dining room table in Philadelphia."

Preparing the food that made its way to Washington's tables was the unsung haute culinarian Hercules Posey. Posey was unique among his peers in that he was famous in his own time and was acknowledged by white society. He had a larger than life persona, and, as head chef, a position of power in the household, as well as some quasi-freedoms like the ability to leave the house on his own when he was not working and to earn money selling leftovers from the kitchen.


The tiny islands leading the green transition

Just off the north coast of Northern Ireland, in the chilly waters of theAtlantic, lies a tiny, L-shaped island called Rathlin. It is home to around 160 people. Mains electricity only arrived on Rathlin in the early 1990s, with the construction of three wind turbines. One islander enthused to local media about the benefits it would bring – she would no longer have to light a candle when getting up to feed her baby in the middle of the night.

This clean energy came from the almost ever-present wind that blows doggedly over Rathlin and on towards Ireland and Great Britain. But as Michael Cecil, chair of the Rathlin Development and Community Association explains, the turbines did not last. After about 10 years, they fell into disrepair. "We couldn't get parts, we couldn't get maintenance done on them," he recalls.

It meant returning to high-emissions diesel generators. And although Rathlin was finally connected to the main Northern Irish electricity grid in 2007, the islanders' dream of resurrecting wind power and cleaning up its energy supply is stronger than ever today.

By 2030, Rathlin wants to be a carbon-neutral island, following in the footsteps of dozens of small islands around the world taking the fight against climate change into their own hands by embracing renewable energy, electric vehicles and sustainability.

To name a few, there's the Danish island of Samsø, which relies on wind energy and other renewables for power and heat. Or Tilos in Greece, which was the first island in the country to become energy self-sufficient. Or Jeju, the South Korean holiday island which, like Rathlin, aims to be carbon neutral by the end of the decade.


Ancient helmets, ruins found at dig in Italy

Archaeologists in southern Italy have discovered ancient warrior helmets and the ruins of a painted brick wall at a site that might have been a forerunner of a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, officials said Tuesday.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the remains dug up at the popular tourist site of Velia were found on what had been an acropolis of one of Magna Graecia’s most important cities. Velia is 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Paestum, a much-visited site of ancient Greek temples.

The recently completed excavation at Velia unearthed a pair of helmets in good condition, the remains of a building, vases with the Greek inscription for “sacred” and metal fragments of what possibly were weapons, the culture ministry said.

State Museums Director Massimo Osanna, who formerly had long directed excavations at Pompeii, Italy's most celebrated excavated site, said the area explored at Velia probably contained relics of offerings made to Athena, the mythological Greek goddess of war and wisdom, after a key naval battle in the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea.

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