Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

A Kansas judge has dismissed all 23 of the felony charges brought by Phill Kline against Planned Parenthood:

“While additional charges in this case remain, we are pleased the most serious charges have rightfully been dismissed. We are grateful Johnson County taxpayers and Planned Parenthood will no longer waste enormous time and money on these politically motivated allegations brought by now discredited prosecutor Phill Kline,” the organization said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

The Massachusetts legislature has passed a transgender rights bill:
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts state Legislature passed a bill designed to prohibit discrimination against the state's transgender population. The protects against employment, education, and housing discrimination and revises the state's hate crimes law to protect against crimes targeting people based on their gender identity and gender expression. The state House approved the bill late Tuesday and the Senate voted, with little opposition, to pass the legislation on Wednesday.
A federal judge in Texas has ruled that law enforcement agencies need a warrant to track cell phone users by location:

In a victory for the privacy rights of everyone with a cell phone, a court has held that law enforcement agents must get a warrant to access cell phone location records. The ACLU, ACLU of Texas and Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted a brief urging the court to adopt exactly this position. The Constitution requires nothing less.

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Jan Brewer broke the law by firing redistricting commissioner Colleen Mathis:

In a brief order, the justices brushed aside arguments by Lisa Hauser, the governor’s attorney, that Brewer’s decision was not subject to court review.

More to the point, they said that Brewer’s power to oust a commissioner is limited to situations of substantial neglect of duty or gross misconduct. The justices said that nothing the governor alleged in her letter firing Mathis rises to that level.

Nevada's attorney general has indicted two title officers at Lender Processing Services for mortgage fraud:
The Office of the Nevada Attorney General announced today that the Clark County grand jury has returned a 606 count indictment against two title officers, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, who directed and supervised a robo-signing scheme which resulted in the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder’s Office between 2005 and 2008.
A Pentagon whistleblower who lost his job has gotten it back:

A Navy review board has overturned a Marine Corps decision to strip one of its senior science advisors of his security clearances, intervening directly in a case that attracted attention among lawmakers on Capitol Hill and among advocates of enhanced legal protection for military whistleblowers.

Franz Gayl, who complained publicly in 2007 that the Corps had squashed an urgent request from U.S. soldiers in Iraq for heavily armored vehicles, was stripped of his clearances last year and suspended indefinitely with pay.
The Oregon Court of Appeals has extended the state's ban on wolf-killing:
The court reaffirmed an earlier court order prohibiting the killing of two members of the Imnaha pack by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, pending the final outcome of the court’s review of the state’s wildlife laws. Three conservation groups, Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and Oregon Wild, had petitioned for review of the wolf-killing rule.
This is interesting:
A Californian startup named Simbol Materials believe that it can extract lithium, as well as zinc and manganese, from the brine that is pumped by geothermal power plants. They expect to be able to compete with the lowest-cost Chilean lithium producers, as well as produce the world's purest lithium carbonate.
More redundantly wealthy capitalist exploiters like this, please:
Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength has been meeting with congressional leaders this week, continuing their push to raise taxes on the very richest Americans. “We want to pay more taxes,” said California millionaire Doug Edwards, a former marketing director for Google. “If you’re fortunate, and you make more than a million dollars a year, you ought to pay more taxes.” The group even told anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist that he should take his extreme positions and “move to Somalia.”
Apropos of which, it won't come as a surprise to you that the real horror of "job-killing regulations," to industry, is that they create good-paying jobs.

Last, it continues to be just barely conceivable that there may not be some unitary "natural" sexual relationship we can use as a standard for human behavior:

With monogamy so uncommon in the animal world, the idea of lifetime fidelity can seem a little strange, at least to evolutionary biologists.

But in greylag geese, which can live for 20 years and share those years with just one mate, biologists have found a benefit: stress reduction. During fights, males with mates have lower heart rates than their single brethren. If their partners are nearby, they’re even more relaxed.

Now that that's out of the way: Metrocake. Photos by Richard Mosse. Some remarks on Euplectella aspergillum, or the Venus flower basket. Landscape architecture vs. zoning for apartheid vs. the history of conceptual modeling (your Venn diagram is due in the morning). The digital Dead Sea Scrolls. Daily life in Greek and Roman Egypt. Daily life in Xiangtangshan. Daily life in Oxyrhynchus. The Royal Society and the origins of scientific communication. Magic in late antiquity. Vidéothèque du CNRS. Women with deadlines. Le Petit Journal des Refusées. Example of midcentury design from No Barcode. A new island (via Cheryl). Socket mapping. And volcano mapping:

(Image at top: "The Mysterious Bird" by Charles Burchfield, 1917.)


Anonymous said...

I love the pictures--and I'm glad to hear there's a start with legislation protecting transgendered people.

Phila said...

I'm glad to hear there's a start with legislation protecting transgendered people.

IIRC, Massachusetts is actually the 16th state to pass legislation of this type. So there's a way to go yet, but a good deal accomplished already.