CNN: What cruise lines don’t want you to know.
“… the business model of the cruise industry is: Strike up the band and hand out the daiquiris, the cruise must go on.” I had hoped the Queen Mary II was something different, but apparently not.
SF New Mexican: House approves background checks for gun shows by a 43-26 vote.
BBC News: Dresden survivor’s story.
Listen through to his last observation.
Chronicle of Higher Ed: Pell Grant Restrictions Hurt Enrollment.
“Under the changes, students are limited to six years of Pell Grants, down from the previous limit of nine; fewer students automatically qualify for the maximum grant because of a lower income cap for receiving an ‘automatic zero’ expected family contribution; and students without a high-school diploma or GED are no longer eligible to receive federal financial aid.” For a start, those working through school need longer time periods–six years is too short. Way to go, Republicans … that’s the way you create wage slaves; keeping your family in nannies and groundskeepers.
ShortFormBlog: The U.S. Senate has officially passed the Violence Against Women Act.
“22 Senators voted against the Violence Against Women Act, including Florida Republican Marco Rubio. Sen. Rubio is scheduled to deliver the GOP response to the State of the Union on Tuesday night; however, his stance on the VAWA could soon become problematic for a man that many see as the potential future of the Republican party.” Indeed.
SF New Mexican: Governor backs gun show bill.
“Martinez said a major reason she backs the bill in its current form is that it would establish a procedure to align the state’s mental health and criminal conviction records with the federal instant background check system.” Buck the GOP system, dive center. With eyes on 2016, a good move.
NY Times: Earthquake Detected in North Korea.
With technical and weather perfection, their multistage missiles could reach our West Coast. Russia’s ICBMs, even at the height of the Cold War, would not have been particularly accurate (great-circle navigation sans GPS or other tech) … these will be less so; it’s a bit unnerving nevertheless. And do they intend to perform nuclear brinksmanship while broadcasting the location of their launch site?
SF New Mexican: City’s gun buy-back program nets hundreds of weapons.
“According to John Schaerfl, Santa Fe Police Department deputy chief, most of the long guns were old military-style rifles and carbines. ‘They could be 80 years old, they could be 8 years old,’ he said Saturday afternoon. He saw a few probable antiques in the collection, including a nicely preserved single-shot, ball-and-cap pistol. The program also netted two SKS-type assault guns Saturday, he said.”
SF New Mexican: Gun lovers rally as House panel passes HB 77.
“Unlike the original version, the revised bill would not require background checks for people buying guns in private transactions outside of gun shows. The new version of the bill also would establish a procedure to align the state’s mental health and criminal conviction records with the federal instant background check system.” Note further down, “It’s legal in New Mexico to openly carry a loaded firearm, including at the Capitol.” And, carrying in your glovebox is *not* considered concealed. Nightmares for law enforcement spouses.
GlobalPost: Speaking German in Texas (AUDIO).
Hmmm. You don’t run into the solidly German, Italian, Irish, etc. neighborhoods so much anymore. I think our culture suffers because of the lack. I suppose a mention of the Delaware Moors of NJ, the Guineas of West Virginia, the Melungeons of Tennessee, the Redbones of South Carolina, etc. would cause a brain-explosion among some in the conservative ranks.
FabiusMaximus: Obama repeals Magna Carta, asserting powers our forefathers denied to Kings.
AP: Senators seek deal on gun-sale background checks.
“The senators’ talks have included discussions about ways to encourage states to make more mental health records available to the national system and the types of transactions that might be exempted from background checks, such as sales among relatives or to those who have permits to carry concealed weapons, said people who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to describe the negotiations publicly.”
TG’s Political Wire: Americans Confused About the NRA.
ShortFormBlog: Native American tells anti-immigration protesters, “YOU’RE illegal.”
And they shut up for a while. Nice. Wear that 7th Cavalry insignia upside down; Custer died for our sins.
Tom Dispatch: Paying the Bin Laden Tax.
New Yorker: How the Ancient Greeks Viewed Weapons.
Alas, a nice observation, but our culture is the problem.
ShortFormBlog: Over fifty countries aided in CIA renditions, according to report.
Flexible morality is catching (or can be bought), it seems. Habeas corpus.
NBC: Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans.
“A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be ‘senior operational leaders’ of al-Qaida or ‘an associated force’—even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.” Slippery slope? Remember the Patriot Act.
CJR: Can mental healthcare curb gun violence?
“… people with mental illnesses are responsible for no more than 5 percent of all violent acts in the United States.” My initial reaction on reading the title was, “Yes.” Read further.
EuroGamer.net: Shooters—How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers.
“But today we know that a portion of every dollar spent on triple-A military-themed video games flows into the pockets of small arms manufacturers, either directly through licence payments, or indirectly through advertising. These beneficiaries include Barrett in the US and FN in Belgium. They may include other controversial arms dealers, such as Israel Weapon Industries, creator of the TAR-21, which appears in Call of Duty. Such deals politicise video games in tangible yet hidden ways. Consumers have, for the past few years, unwittingly funded arms companies that often have their own military agendas.” When someone tells you video games are benign, send them this article.
Boston Review/Hal Stucker: Strapped (guns, gun control).
My own experience of NYC in the early ‘80’s is about as close to an actual Hollywood dystopia as I’d ever like to get.
Guardian.UK: Hitler came to power 80 years ago. I remember it like yesterday.
“The events of 30th January 1933 to me still serve as a warning of how quickly a conservative government can lose control of the situation when it starts to engage with political party further to their right …” Tea, anyone?
Ad Age: Caribbean Community says VW Super Ad Not Offensive—Critics Are.
Yes, well … case in point. Accent is not race. I remember when Big Country was in concert at Trenton State in NJ. The black students in particular were blown away by the bassist’s thick Scottish accent. They simply never imagined such a thing could exist. Everyone accepts the current cultural stereotypes without question. And that’s a shame. Via Rebecca Blood on Twitter.
Farmington Daily Times: Navajo Nation uranium cleanup report released.
“More than 500 abandoned uranium mine locations and thousands of mine features, such as pits, trenches and holes still have elevated levels of uranium.” It is a recommendation I repeat over and over—if there’s money to extract, there must be money in escrow to clean up and remediate back to original conditions.
Guardian.UK: Timbuktu mayor - Mali rebels torched library of historic manuscripts.
“They covered a diverse range of topics including astronomy, poetry, music, medicine and women’s rights. The oldest dated from 1204.” Again, this is another reason to spread such treasures far and wide across the globe, rather than bringing all the artifacts back to their origins.