Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

The White House continues to force the gay lifestyle down America's throat:

This week, the Obama administration filled two high-ranking positions with openly gay appointees and nominated a third for a federal judgeship in New York.

If approved by the Senate, J. Paul Oetken will become the third openly gay federal judge in the country. Oetken is a senior vice president and associate general counsel at Cablevision Systems.

Two LGBT officials will take on key roles in the Obama White House.

TPM provides a bit of context:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday appointed two new commissioners to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a federal agency best know recently for its partisan focus on investigating the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. The White House's move will rebalance what was intended to be a bipartisan panel which came under conservative control thanks to a move during the Bush administration to "game" the system.

In related news, Hawaii's governor has nominated an openly gay judge to the state Supreme Court:
Shizue McKenna, an open lesbian, was nominated to the Hawaii Supreme Court for a 10-year term on Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie said this was “the most important decision” in his career, according to the Star Advertiser....

As the first openly gay judge on the Hawaii Supreme Court, McKenna hopes to give hope to those who feel they cannot succeed on behalf of their sexual orientation.
In Egypt, a group of protesters reportedly formed a human shield to protect the treasures in the Egyptian Museum:

According to Al-Jazeera, whose coverage of the protests in Egypt has been notably better than any American outlet's, a team of Egyptians has formed a "human shield" around the national museum, diverting tens of thousands of their countrymen away from the antiquities and back into the massive demonstration in Midan Tahrir square.

The Obama administration will scrap BushCo's color-coded threat advisories:
[T]he system initiated by then-president George W. Bush was often mocked by critics as a relic of post-September 11, 2001 frenzy that caused alarm without explaining the reasons for the alerts.

"The old color-coded system taught Americans to be scared, not prepared," said Representative Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security.

New Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled that the state must publish recently adopted greenhouse gas regulations:

The New Mexico Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with environmental groups in a pair of cases that challenged an attempt by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to delay publication in the state register of recently approved pollution control measures....

The lawsuits filed on behalf of the environmental groups by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center alleged that Martinez exceeded her powers by blocking the publication of rules adopted by state regulators.

A new bill will require electric automobiles to make noise:

Spurred by concerns that new, near-silent vehicles may pose a danger to both the blind and those not paying attention visually, the law will eventually require all vehicles on the road to make some sound to help keep pedestrians safe. For now, the law calls on the Secretary of Transportation to “study and establish a motor vehicle safety standard that provides for a means of alerting blind and other pedestrians of motor vehicle operation.”

New York may phase out the dirtiest forms of heating oil:
Buildings in New York City would burn cleaner heating oil and emit far less pollution under proposed rules announced on Friday.

The rules, which are subject to a 30-day period of public comment and a hearing on Feb. 28, would phase out the dirtiest types of heating oil used by about 10,000 buildings in New York.
Four hundred rabbis want Glenn Beck to stop calling people "Nazis":
Four hundred rabbis, including every leader from every branch of Judaism in the United States, have signed their name to a full-page letter in today's Wall Street Journal asking the NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch to rebuke two of his employees: Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, and Glenn Beck, the right-wing channel's most infamous host.

Galvanizing the rabbis is Ailes' and Beck's continued insistence on alluding to Nazism and the Holocaust in interviews and during broadcasts. Ailes recently called NPR executives "Nazis" for firing the political analyst Juan Williams after he said he's afraid to fly with people in "Muslim garb." And Beck's tactic of likening opponents to fascists is quite well-known in most left-leaning circles. Such comparisons, say the rabbis, are so inapt as to diminish the real horrors of Nazism.
Meanwhile, Beck's ratings are way down:
[T]he days of Glenn Beck drawing three million viewers are long gone. And they’re never coming back. But at this rate, the two-million viewership mark seems to be slipping away, too. Glenn Beck now routinely flirts with ratings in the 1.6-1.8 million range, which is almost exactly half the rating Beck was getting one year ago.
Ancient statues destroyed during WWII have been restored:

Unearthed in present-day Syria a century ago, the 3,000-year-old basalt statues and stone reliefs in the exhibition, "The Tell Halaf Adventure," shattered into thousands of pieces when their Berlin home was destroyed by bombing in 1943.

The rubble was rescued, then slumbered in the vaults of the capital's Pergamon Museum, then in East Berlin, for decades before a painstaking restoration project started in 2001.

Over the past decade, restorers sifted through around 27,000 fragments of rubble and gradually reassembled most of them.

The DoI is issuing stricter rules on scientific integrity as part of its new strategic plan. I'm mildly heartened by some of the plan's other components:
Salazar also said the department wants to hire more young people between the ages of 15 and 25 to help with conservation. The strategic plan said that by the end of 2012, the department wants its employment of young people to be more than 50 percent above 2009 levels....

The strategic plan also calls for increasing use of alternative fuels by 10 percent each year, cutting information technology, operating and energy costs by 4 percent by the end of 2016, and reducing the department's data centers from 426 to 173 by the end of 2016.

The end of The World may be nigh:
The World was envisioned as the ultimate luxury retreat: for an exorbitant price you could lay claim to your own private island – a corner of the globe to call your own. The islands were created from displaced sand dredged up from the depths of the sea, however a property tribunal recently cited evidence that the islands have begun to erode and the waterways that separate them are dissolving due to the influx of sand.

Fujitsu has designed a compostable mouse:
Fujitsu, maker of the bioplastic computer and zero-watt computer monitor, has announced its latest: a mouse made with bioplastic instead of petroleum-based plastic, is attached to a cable made without PVC, and has a compostable shell.
Frogs have returned to restored wetlands on the Oregon coast:
The return of the Pacific tree frogs signaled a turning point. After more than a century of draining, clearing and cultivation as a working farm, the 23 acres off the highway near Cannon Beach Junction could be wetland habitat again.

The pasture already had changed shape. The upside-down spruce and hemlock trees, with root wads poking in all directions about 20 feet high, were embedded in the ground next to the edge of a pond as perches for birds. Overgrown blackberries have been yanked and replaced by native plants.

Now, the sounds of the wetlands had returned.
Nonstop design work, seen as a garden of ideas. The lonesome death of Pincher, Oklahoma. Partition numbers = fractal. The Marvelous Corricks. The marvelous kittens. Architecture of Constantinople.

Figureheads. Three-dimensional visualizations of Chichén-Itzá. The centers of the USA. Scientific collaboration visualized. Installations by Tracey Snelling. Photos by Steve McNamara. Cheese labels. And the abandoned island of Askold:

GOLEM: Journal of Religion and Monsters (via things). The Journal of Universal Rejection. A photographic history of thermalism, in slideshow format. (Related: La Côte Basque). Prospective Kafka covers. Some Polaroids, and some uncut matchbook sheets. And the La Coe Collection of lantern slides:


(Image at top: "San Francisco in Jello-O: Alamo Square" by Liz Hickok, 2004).


grouchomarxist said...

Glenn Beck's ratings are way down

Given Murdock's apparent penchant for life imitating art, viz. Chayefsky's Network, if I were Glenny Boy, I'd be feeling a wee bit nervous right now.

As always, thanks for this and the other good news. And the incredible photographs. And the gravity-defying kittens.

Libby Spencer said...

The world is better place because Friday Hope Blogging exists. Thanks Phila. *mwah*

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