Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sen.Jeff Flake: GOP presidential candidate endorsing same-sex marriage ‘inevitable’

Flake calls a GOP presidential candidate endorsing same-sex marriage ‘inevitable’

March 31st, 2013

Senator Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, says that GOP presidential candidate endorsing same-sex marriage ‘inevitable’

(CNN) - Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said Sunday that it is certain that a presidential candidate from the Republican Party will endorse same-sex marriage.
Asked whether he could support a Republican presidential candidate someday who supported same-sex marriage on NBC's "Meet the Press," he replied, "I think that's inevitable. There will be one, and that I think he'll receive Republican support, or she will. I think that … the answer is yes."
But Flake suggested that he will not be that candidate.
"I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I still hold to the traditional definition of marriage," he said.
Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential candidate, stated his opposition to same-sex marriage but said states could extend some rights to same-sex partners.
Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Romney's campaign, noted the GOP "platform right now calls for a federal constitutional amendment to ban" same-sex marriage.
"There may be a debate about that," he said, adding, "I don't think you would ever see the Republican Party platform saying we are in favor of same sex marriage."
The party, he said on "Fox News Sunday," has not been effective in communicating its position on the issue.
"I do think that in the context of this debate, as in so many other debates, Republicans have been cast in the negative … to say we are opposing something, as opposed to talking about what most Republicans are for," he said. “Most Republicans are also for the benefits of marriage in the legal system that are afforded, the protections like, for example, … hospital visitation rights or survivorship benefits, and I think you will hear more Republicans making that point, that we can do those things without having the government sanction same-sex marriage."
Support for same-sex marriage is significantly higher in the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. The mid-March CNN/ORC poll found that 70% of Democrats supported same sex-marriage and 25% of Republicans supported the same. Among independents, 55% supported same-sex marriage.

U.S. Gun Deaths Per Capita



The Bible Belt
The Liberal States

Is anything not clear here?

Gun Cartoons and Gun Violence Biography

Oh, so stricter gun policies are ineffective?

Gun Cartoons and Gun Violence Biography

Every 43 seconds...

Gun Cartoons and Gun Violence Biography

3 die in gunfire after bar brawl.

America is nuts. 


Gun Cartoons and Gun Violence Biography


3 die in gunfire after bar brawl

SEATTLE (AP) — Three men were killed and another man was wounded early Sunday when a brawl led to gunfire outside a tavern, police said.
Auburn Police Cmdr. Mike Hirman said dozens of people were leaving the Sports Page Tavern in Auburn, which is about 30 miles south of Seattle, at closing time around 2 a.m. when a fight broke out in the parking lot.
He said several people pulled handguns and fired shots, and three men in their 20s were found dead. A fourth man suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was in critical condition when he was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. His condition was not available Sunday afternoon.
"We know there this dispute escalated to gunfire but in terms of why, we don't know that yet," Hirman said. "We've had several dozen people at the scene ... trying to piece together all those stories does take time."
Hirman said some of the victims and suspects knew each other. The identities of the victims would not be released until Monday afternoon at the earliest, a spokeswoman with the King County Medical Examiner's office said.
Police detained a person of interest and arrested that person on an unrelated weapons charge. Police have recovered two handguns. They believe several different firearms were used based on shell casings recovered from the scene.
Police in the neighboring suburbs of Federal Way and Kent stopped two vehicles that matched descriptions of cars leaving the scene of the shooting.
Those vehicles were seized, and their occupants were being questioned, said Hirman. The car stopped in Federal Way was riddled with bullets.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Most Religious States (by self-definition): Mississippi, Alabama, Utah

The Reverend Fred Phelps


New Gallup poll sheds light on the state of religion in the United States.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Provo-Orem area of Utah is the most religious metropolitan area in the United States, a new Gallup poll shows.
A survey of about 190 metropolitan areas released Friday found 77% of Provo-Orem residents are classified as "very religious." That's based on respondents saying religion is an important part of their daily life and they attend religious services nearly every week.
Utah's Ogden-Clearfield metro area also ranked near the top of the list, with 55% of residents considered very religious. Salt Lake City, the state's largest metropolitan area, was farther down at 47%.
The results underscore the prevalence of devout Mormons in those areas, which all have Mormon temples. Provo also is home to the Mormon-church's flagship university, Brigham Young University, and has the church's main missionary training center.
Provo Mayor John R. Curtis said he's not surprised by the area's ranking.
"It's part of our heritage, I think," Curtis said. "Like much of Utah, Provo was founded by religious pioneers that came here so they could have religious freedom. I think that's a big part of who we are."
The survey found the country's least religious cities to be Burlington, Vt., and Boulder, Colo., with 17% of residents classified as highly religious.
Most of the cities found to be highly religious were in the South, while the least religious were generally on the East and West Coasts.
The survey, which was conducted last year, also found that throughout the country, approximately 40% of Americans are classified as very religious.
About 31% of Americans are classified as nonreligious for saying religion is not an important part of their daily life and they rarely or never attend services. Another 29% are classified as moderately religious.
The study also found Utah is tied with Alabama for the second most religious state after Mississippi.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Even if being gay was a choice...

4-year-old girl shot dead in car. (Gun death much more likely in homes with guns.)


4-year-old girl shot dead in car in Miami

Sunday, March 31, 2013

MIAMI (AP) — A 4-year-old girl was fatally shot while she sat in a car outside her grandfather's Miami home, and now detectives are trying to determine if another child who was in the vehicle pulled the trigger, police said Sunday.
The children were waiting in a white Mercedes-Benz Saturday evening as an adult stood nearby outside in an impoverished neighborhood with scattered storefront churches and boarded-up businesses on the northern edge of Miami-Dade County.
Rahquel Carr was shot in the upper body with a handgun believed to have been fired from inside the vehicle, Miami-Dade Police Detective Roy Rutland said. The owner of the weapon and the car was not present and has not been charged.
At least two other children were in the vehicle at the time, all believed to have been younger than 10, Rutland said. Investigators were speaking with those children, which Rutland said was a delicate process because of their age.
"We are interviewing those kids and we're trying to ascertain if one of the other children shot the kid," he said.
The Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney will review the case to determine if any charges will be filed. An autopsy will also be done to determine how many times the girl was shot, and where.
The adult who was standing nearby was not identified and has also not been charged.
Armando Alvarado, 58, was sitting inside his home three doors down when he heard children screaming. He went outside and saw a woman crying for help on her cell phone.
"She was crying desperately," he said.
Police arrived within a minute, and a rescuer carried the girl into an ambulance, he said. Her limbs were limp and blood was on her face. The girl died a short time later after being airlifted to a hospital.
Rahquel's grandfather also was hospitalized because he was overcome with emotion. The two were very close, and he would sometimes watch the girl while she rode her bike outside.
"The grandfather just loved her so much," said Michael Hardaway, 55, who lives next door. "He couldn't take it."
On Sunday, the family gathered with a minister at the home but declined to comment. Police tape had been removed, with only a large, orange, spray-painted "X'' remaining in front of the driveway.

Read more:

9 Year Old Philosopher In A Suburban Backyard

When he rang the doorbell, Zia hadn't planned to step inside. He was there to pick up his fiancee who was babysitting, but she couldn't leave (the parents were running late) so Zia agreed to hang out for a bit. His fiancee said, "Let me introduce you to the kids" — the 2-year-old girl, the 7-year-old boy and, most important, squatting, with no shoes on, surrounded by ants on the back patio, the oldest — the 9-year-old — the one he would make world-famous on YouTube.

This is the boy he now calls "The Philosopher."
Nine is what fourth-graders are. You don't expect them to be wise; they're still boys. When the two started talking, there was no hint of what was about to happen, except for the slightly odd introduction. His girlfriend said he "is interested in cosmology." "Really?" Zia thought, "cosmology?" So he leaned in and asked — just to be a badass — "What do you think about dark matter? Any ideas?"
Wait! I Need To Film This
The boy looked up, started to answer, and almost immediately Zia thought, "Wait!" Zia Hassan is a Washington, D.C.-based musician, blogger, teacher-in-training and video cameraman and he's learned to act on instinct, and his instincts were telling him, "I need to film this." He said to the boy, "Uh, can I film this? Is that all right with you?"
The boy didn't mind. And here, a million-and-a-half views later, is what the boy told him about the universe. I don't know the right words to describe what I feel watching this. Quiet surprise? Joy? Mystery? You should just look for yourself ...
We all know smart kids, who are curious, who collect information. "I knew more things in the first 10 years of my life than I believe I have known at any time since," says the writer Bill Bryson. But what Bill knew growing up in Iowa was local: "I knew what was written on the undersides of tables and what the view was like from the tops of bookcases and wardrobes. I knew what was to be found at the back of every closet, which beds had the most dust balls beneath them." Boys gather information by climbing, crawling, inspecting, gossiping.
But this 9-year-old — what he knows is different. It's not local; it can't be found looking under a couch. It's mind stuff, found mostly in books or college classrooms, or by letting your mind run free.
I Could Be Wrong ... I Could Be Wrong ...
Where, I wondered, did he learn about multiverses, free will, the odds of intelligent life in the universe? How does he manage to be so aware of what he doesn't know? "Of course, I could be wrong," he says over and over, offering his opinions in the most unassuming, gentle way. And his brother, talking about how baseball satisfies our need for drama ("We do not have that kind of suspense in our lives."), he's doing it too — thinking, connecting, reflecting — and he's 7!
What's going on in this house? Are these kids outrageously smart? Zia says they're "certainly bright," but not scarily so. Is it something the parents are doing?
"I've gotten lots of questions about how they've raised [their kids]," Zia wrote me. "I don't think they have a particular method or anything like that. They're both excellent human beings and they treat their kids as if they're intelligent young people, and not children who couldn't possibly understand how the world (or universe) works."
This, he thinks, may be the key. These kids are encouraged to think out loud, to say what they think, even if they might be wrong. Each is appreciated. The parents, he says, "are also in awe of their children." And that frees them.
"I think there are a lot of kids who think about interesting things," Zia says. "It's my guess no one really asks them about it."
Maybe that's what this family does: They turn to their kids, and they ask.



Happy Easter! 

¡Feliz Pascua!

While watching the following 4 minute clip,  I was reminded of the verse in Matthew: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 

Since most (maybe all) premises are unprovable, we have no choice but to choose what we believe most valuable.

In the end, we choose our heart's desire.

Sex. Drugs. Rock-n-Roll. 

Money. Power. Cruelty. Vengeance. 

Knowledge. Gnosis. Ideology.

Thunder Sky God.  Compassion. Love. 

We choose.

In so doing, we choose to be faithful.

Or not. (Which is its own act of faith.)



PS Ironically, the word "Easter" - the name given to Christianity's culminating feast - derives from the Germanic Goddess of Dawn, Eostre. 

Researchers: Leopards are new backyard wildlife in India

Researchers: Leopards are new backyard wildlife in India

The researchers utilized camera traps to observe leopards in areas with high human populations.

Science Recorder | James Fluere | Saturday, March 30, 2013

Researchers have discovered that leopards and humans peacefully coexist in certain areas of India. According to a news release from the Wildlife Conservation Society, a team of researchers led by WCS-India scientist Vidya Athreaya discovered as many as five large carnivores, including leopards and striped hyenas, per 100 square kilometers. This is the first time that this density has been reported in a landscape dominated by humans.

The researchers utilized camera traps to observe leopards in areas devoid of wilderness. They discovered that leopards often moved close to houses at night though remained mostly undetected by humans. While leopards have attacked and killed people in the past, there are few examples of attacks in the study region.

According to Ullas Karanth of WCS, human attacks by these big cats were exceedingly rare even though humans deaths were reported in adjoining areas.

“The results of our work push the frontiers of our understanding of the adaptability of both humans and wildlife to each other’s presence,” said Karanth.

The researchers argue that their discovery suggests that conservationists need to look beyond protected areas for a better approach to protecting wildlife in a variety of areas.

According to National Geographic, leopards are closely related to lions, tigers and jaguars. These big cats reside in sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China. Leopards are extremely strong and often haul their kills into the trees to keep them safe from scavengers such as hyenas.

The study’s findings are described in detail in the journal PLoS One.

Read more:

Iran Won The Iraq War

Hello, Americans. 

We won The Iraq War!

Of course, we couldn't have done it without George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Thanks guys!

Next time, get on our payroll first.

Only Allah knows what synaptic storm made you give us Iraq. 

On a platter! 

Apple in mouth.

Gamal Abdel Nasser was right:
"The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder that there might be something we're missing."

Alan: Anyone not beholden to The Official Story is aware that Iran won The Iraq War. Ironically, Ronald Reagan was Saddam Hussein's staunchest ally because Dutch needed him to prevent Iran's emergence as a regional power. The prospect of Tehran's pre-eminence was so ominous that Reagan "slept with Hussein" even though The Butcher of Baghdad was "at his very worst." Except for a sprinkling of 2011  press reports suggesting that Washington''s upcoming withdrawal from Iraq was tantamount to an Iranian victory,  the Los Angeles Times article below is the first mainstream press report I've seen that frankly acknowledges The Obvious: "Iran Won The Iraq War."


Ten years after Iraq war began, Iran reaps the gains

The influence of Tehran on its neighbor is growing, while the U.S., Iraqi officials and analysts say, pursues a policy of near-total disengagement.

March 28, 2013|By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
  • Followers of Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr carry an image of him and chant slogans against the U.S. and sectarianism during a protest in Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad on March 16, 2013.
Followers of Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr carry an image of him… (Karim Kadim / Associated…)
BAGHDAD — Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the geopolitical winner of the war appears to be their common enemy: Iran.
American military forces are long gone, and Iraqi officials say Washington's political influence in Baghdad is now virtually nonexistent. Hussein is dead. But Iran has become an indispensable broker among Baghdad's new Shiite elite, and its influence continues to grow.
The signs are evident in the prominence of pro-Iran militias on the streets, at public celebrations and in the faces of some of those now in the halls of power, men such as Abu Mehdi Mohandis, an Iraqi with a long history of anti-American activity and deep ties to Iran.
During the occupation, U.S. officials accused Mohandis of arranging a supply of Iranian-made bombs to be used against U.S. troops. But now Iraqi officials say Mohandis speaks for Iran here, and Prime Minister Nouri Maliki recently entrusted him with a sensitive domestic political mission.
Iran's role reinforces its strategic position at a time when the world looks increasingly hostile to Tehran, the capital. It faces tough international sanctions for its disputed nuclear program and fears losing longtime ally Syria to an insurgency backed by regional Sunni Muslim rivals.
Western diplomats and Iraqi politicians say they are concerned that the Islamic Republic will be tempted to use proxies in Iraq to strike at its enemies, as it has done with Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
American officials say they remain vital players in Iraq and have worked to defuse tension between Maliki and his foes.
During a visit to Baghdad on Sunday, however, Secretary of State John F. Kerry was unable to persuade Maliki to stop Iranian flights crossing Iraqi airspace to Syria. The U.S. charges that Iranian weapons shipments are key to propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad; Maliki says there is no proof that Tehran is sending anything besides humanitarian aid. Kerry's visit was the first by a U.S. Cabinet official in more than a year.
Overall, Iraqi officials and analysts say, Washington has pursued a policy of near-total disengagement, with policy decisions largely relegated to the embassy in Baghdad. Some tribal leaders complain that the Americans have not contacted them since U.S. troops left in late 2011.
Iraq's political atmosphere has deteriorated. Maliki has ordered the arrest of his former finance minister, a Sunni. Disputes in the north between the central government and leaders of the semiautonomous Kurdish region are unresolved.
"The Americans have no role. Nobody listens to them. They lost their power in this country," said Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq, a Sunni, commenting on the disappearance of the Americans as a broker for most of Iraq's disputes.
The vacuum has been filled in large part by Iran and by Iraq's Sunni neighbors, each intent on wielding maximum influence in a country that stands as a buffer between Shiite Iran and the largely Sunni Middle East.
"At the moment, Iran has something akin to veto power in Iraq, in that Maliki is careful not to take decisions that might alienate Iran," said Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
An Iraqi Shiite politician who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, described Iran's objectives this way: "Controlled instability in Iraq and a submissive or sympathetic Islamist Shia government in accord with Iran's regional interests, most importantly regarding Syria."
Maliki turned to Shiite Islamist parties and figures tied to Iran to stay in power after a close election in 2010. He has fended off challenges since then with the support of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who fears the expansion of Sunni power if Syria or Iraq collapses. Maliki has convinced the Iranians that he is the only one who can hold his country together, according to Iraqi politicians.
Iran has forcefully backed quasi-political and military groups in Iraq such as the Badr Organization, Khitab Hezbollah and Asaib al Haq, and encouraged them to support Maliki.
The Badr Organization was funded and trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guard in the 1980s to fight Hussein. Both Khitab Hezbollah and Asaib al Haq have professed their admiration for Khamenei while declaring their ambition to transform themselves into political and social movements.
Leading Iraqi Shiite officials describe the emergence of such overtly pro-Iran groups as a healthy development after the U.S. military withdrawal.
"These imitators of Khamenei and before that [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini were in hiding. Now they have become public and known," said Sheik Hamam Hamoudi, a Shiite member of parliament and a longtime resident of Iran before the U.S. toppled Hussein.
At a gathering last month at a sports club, members of Khitab Hezbollah greeted enthusiastic visitors under a portrait of Khamenei and banners showing a fist clenching a black Kalashnikov rifle rising from a map of the Middle East. Guests received a book, graced by a portrait of Khamenei, that describes a war pitting Iran and its allies against the West.
Mohandis, said to secretly head the militia, first rose up against Hussein in the late 1970s. Facing arrest, he moved to Kuwait. A court there later convicted him in absentia of taking part in the bombing of the U.S. and French embassies in 1983.
Mohandis fled to Iran, where he joined the Badr Organization, and he now heads its political bureau in Baghdad. He returned to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion and was elected to parliament under his birth name, Jamal Jaffar. He fled again when the Americans were alerted to his true identity. In 2009, the Treasury Department labeled him a threat to Iraq's security.
But after the last U.S. troops withdrew in December 2011, he came back.
During the interim, Iraqi officials say, he cultivated a close relationship with Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran's Quds Force, which is responsible for Iran's relations with Iraq. For any Iraqi official or politician visiting Tehran, Mohandis accompanied Iran's spy chief to the meetings.
In a show of his new prominence, Mohandis was dispatched by Maliki with three senior members of his Dawa Party members to Iraqi Kurdistan last month.
According to those with knowledge of the meeting, Mohandis was sent to try to smooth over a dispute regarding rights to oil-rich Kirkuk and other territory in the north. Mohandis argued for an alliance between the Kurds and Shiites, given regional instability and ongoing Sunni protests in Iraq.
"Mohandis is Iran's Iraqi emissary or messenger," said a senior Iraqi official, who insisted on anonymity because of the topic's delicacy. "When he is in a meeting, people know he speaks for the Quds Force and Suleimani. He speaks for them more than the Iranian Embassy."
Another enforcer of Iranian interests has been Hadi Amri, a hardened militia veteran whom Maliki appointed to the post of transportation minister. In the dispute over Iranian overflights to Syria, Amri and Maliki have ignored U.S. requests to inspect Iranian planes.
The Asaib al Haq militia was blamed for the killing of five U.S. soldiers in 2007 and the abduction of five Britons, four of whom were killed. Sunni Arabs also blame it for some of the worst attacks on their community during Iraq's sectarian warfare.
The Americans jailed the militia's leader, Qais Khazali, but Maliki pushed for him to be transferred to Iraqi custody and join the political process as an alternative to more fundamentalist Shiite groups.
Since his release, Khazali has emerged as a Shiite fundamentalist political force funded, according to his foes and other Iraqi politicians, by Iran. He has organized offices across the country with the aim of recruiting prominent individuals and communities to his cause.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

Perfect hard-boiled eggs
Perfect hard-boiled eggs. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / March 28, 2012)

The perfect hard-boiled egg

It's easy to cook eggs that are firm, not rubbery, and yolks that are bright orange and moist.

Perfection is the goal here
How do you cook a perfect hard-boiled egg? It's really simple. Arrange the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan or deep skillet. Add just enough tap water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook one minute. Remove from the heat and let them stand at least 15 minutes.
Because the water begins to cool as soon as the heat is turned off, the eggs never overcook the way they can if you leave them at a steady simmer. You get eggs with whites that are firm but not rubbery and yolks that are bright orange and moist.
Furthermore, you never wind up with split or cracked eggs. Those problems happen when you add cold eggs to boiling water and are caused by the sudden expansion of the air bubble inside the shell because of the heat. Since eggshells are porous, if you warm the egg slowly that air eases out gently (if you watch closely, you'll see the bubbles).
—Russ Parsons