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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 76,330

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In Michigan, some counties splash back against the blue wave

In Michigan, some counties splash back against the blue wave
Red-flag gun laws? Optional, depending on the sheriff

By Joe Lapointe on Mon, May 1, 2023 at 8:55 am

(Detroit Metro Times) In recent elections, Michigan’s balance of power has shifted from reactionary, conservative, and right wing to progressive, liberal, and left wing.

Gun-safety legislation in Lansing shows how the clout in the Great Lakes State has moved in a positive direction from Republican red to Democratic blue.

But sometimes, a few steps forward are followed by a couple steps backward. That unfortunate dance of democracy is on display in several Michigan counties, where backlash from elected officials exudes a whiff of defiance and anarchy.

The most recent episode came last week northwest of metro Detroit when the Livingston County Sheriff and Board of Commissioners vowed to ignore “red-flag laws” that would enable police to confiscate guns from persons found by a court to be of high risk.

That means a nut boy with a gun toy can cling to his hand-held murder machine even if people around him tell a judge that he (or she, or they) is dangerous. Think of Ethan Crumbley, who murdered four fellow students 17 months ago at Oxford High School in Oakland County. ...................(more)


If you see it, smash it! How the spotted lanternfly is hatching eggs all over the map

If you see it, smash it! How the spotted lanternfly is hatching eggs all over the map

Janet Loehrke

Get your bug-stomping shoes on.

In areas of the Northeast where the colorful but invasive spotted lanternfly is emerging, killing season has arrived. The next generation of the plant-hopping and crop-destroying pest has hatched in 16 states across the northeastern U.S.

The invasive bugs can wreak havoc on plants and trees and could eventually threaten the American wine industry as they develop into vibrant moth-like insects.

The spotted lanternfly, which actually doesn't fly but is a leaf-hopping insect, is believed to have arrived in the U.S. on a stone shipment from China in 2012, according to the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University in Ithaca.

What does the invasive spotted lanternfly look like?

The life cycle of the spotted lanternfly begins in mid-spring. They are closely related to the cicadas family and primarily live in trees.

The insects consume the sap of up to 70 different plant species during their life cycle, particularly fruit trees. As they eat, they release a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew that increases the growth of mold and attracts wasps and ants. Too much of the bugs' feeding can weaken the tree and ultimately cause it to die. ................(more)


Donald Trump's defense attorney in rape trial may have accidentally revealed the motive

Donald Trump's defense attorney in rape trial may have accidentally revealed the motive
Joe Tacopina showed E. Jean Carroll embarrassed Trump at Bergdorf Goodman. Humiliation famously triggers his rage

Senior Writer
PUBLISHED MAY 1, 2023 6:00AM (EDT)

(Salon) The common wisdom in the post-#MeToo era is that bullying an alleged rape victim is a bad look. So many legal experts were surprised when Donald Trump's defense attorney Joe Tacopino tore in E. Jean Carroll on the witness stand Thursday, during a defamation and rape civil trial of the former reality TV host-turned-fascist coup leader. There wasn't a misogynist rape myth that Tacopino left untouched. His browbeating got so bad that Judge Lewis Kaplan was forced to repeatedly interrupt and reprimand Tacopino.

"Tacopina was derisive, derogatory and dismissive," former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner wrote at the Daily Beast.

"Not exactly the impression Team Trump wanted the jury to be left with on the way home," defense attorney Robert Katzberg wrote at Slate.

Tacopino fell "into this other trap," former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said on MSNBC on Saturday, "of putting the jury on her side and willing to listen to her testimony."

It may be ill-advised, but it's not a surprise that Trump would hire a lawyer committed to the strategy of pure misogyny. This is the same Trump who pushed Justice Brett Kavanaugh towards the whining-and-shouting response to similarly credible allegations of attempted rape. Trump has always thought it looks "tough" to be a coward who only bullies people who can't fight back. ..............(more)


'Fearful and trigger happy': flooded with guns and paranoia, the US reels from shootings

(Guardian UK) Waldes Thomas and Diamond Darville were driving for the grocery delivery service Instacart near Miami in mid-April when they drove the order up to the wrong address.

Thomas, 19, and Darville, 18, reportedly told authorities they were backing away from the home when the owner emerged with his son, grabbed on to the driver’s window and fired a gun three times at their car. Antonio Caccavale, who didn’t hit anyone, later reportedly claimed to police who investigated the encounter that he shot because he feared for his and his son’s lives as Thomas and Darville’s car ran over his foot and struck a boulder.

Eventually, police concluded everyone – including Caccavale – acted “justifiably based on the circumstances they perceived”, leading to no arrests.

It remains to be seen whether the police’s interpretation of the case is the final word on the matter. A local prosecutor told ABC News in a statement that he would evaluate whether Caccavale should be charged, adding that “the safety of the entire Instacart community is incredibly important” to his office.

Nonetheless, that case, along with a spate of recent shootings across the country which victimized Americans who approached property owners by mistake or for an otherwise innocent reason, did not only vividly illustrate how the US is flooded with guns. It all also showed how people who are made paranoid by the nation’s bitter political climate believe they can use guns with impunity thanks to firearms laws and self-defense statutes that in many states are remarkably permissive, according to experts who spoke with the Guardian this week.

“A lot of people who shouldn’t have guns, who don’t need them, who don’t know how to use them safely … are fearful and trigger happy,” said the president of Global Action on Gun Violence, Jonathan Lowy. “And it’s inevitable that that will lead to tragedies like we’re seeing.” ..............(more)


Massive, exploded SpaceX rocket devastated a town and a wildlife reserve -- and locals are furious


But the community living near the launch site has been dealing with fallout from the launch, in both senses of the word. The explosion essentially obliterated the launch pad, carving a massive crater and sending chunks of concrete, sheets of stainless steel and other debris flying into the ocean on Boca Chica Beach. A Dodge Caravan was smashed with wreckage, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported was scattered over 385 acres, causing a fire that burned 3.5 acres on Boca Chica State Park land.

Clouds of ash and particulates rained down on residents of Port Isabel, about six miles away, settling onto homes, cars, and streets, breaking several windows. It's not clear if the particulate matter is dangerous to breathe or touch, or if it will pollute the soil. An FAA environmental assessment of the spacecraft notes that some stages of the rocket used kerosene as fuel, which is toxic to breathe; the assessment also notes over 100 gallons of hydraulic fluid in the rocket, which is often hazardous.


One Port Isabel resident, Sharon Almaguer, told the New York Times the situation was "terrifying" and described locals as "being sacrificed."

"He just wanted to get this thing up in the air," Almaguer said of Musk. "Everybody else sort of be damned."


"A billionaire is closing our beach to use the land to test his experimental technology putting the lives of locals at risk while destroying acres of a wildlife reserve," Emma Guevara, the Sierra Club's Brownsville Organizer, said in a statement. "Who will be held accountable for the destruction this company consistently causes when the government continues to ignore community members' very real and very serious concerns?" .............(more)


Drunk Yellowstone Visitor Harasses Cow Elk Until She Embarrasses Him

(Whiskey Riff) They just don’t stop…

Everywhere you look there’s a different video coming from Yellowstone National Park that shows someone who thinks they know something about wildlife. Time and time again they think it’s the right decision to approach an animal that weighs two to three times more, in some cases even five times.


However, I still get enjoyment out of seeing one of these fools panic when their plan goes terribly wrong. I’m not saying I want to see someone get hurt, even though it’s bound to happen. But, it’s hilarious seeing the fear go through them when they realize this isn’t a petting zoo animal.

A cow elk can weigh up to 600 pounds. Why would a person want to be standing next to a wild creature that is this large is completely beyond me?

This fella, who according to the headline in the video was a bit overserved, found that out as he approached a cow elk grazing her way through town. The tourist goes up and gets a cart between him and the cow and he almost seems to be trying to get the animal all worked up. ..............(more)


Germany's Flat-Rate Train Ticket

Germany's Flat-Rate Train Ticket
The history of the Deutschland Ticket shows how complicated progress is in a country where pettiness is often the order of the day. And how, sometimes, politicians in Germany can find solutions that they weren't even looking for.

By Alexander Smoltczyk, Barbara Hardinghaus, Barbara Supp und Serafin Reiber
27.04.2023, 15.16 Uhr

(Der Spiegel) The revolution is arriving on schedule: On May 1, Germany's Deutschland Ticket will go into effect, offering a flat monthly rate for the use of regional trains and local public transportation all across the country. The ticket is only available by subscription for 49 euros a month. It’s a project that Hesse state Transport Minister Tarek Al-Wazir of the Green Party has called "the biggest revolution in public transportation" ever. City limits, regional borders, fare boundaries and even some international borders will no longer matter, he said. Simplicity will prevail. For now, the subscription is nicknamed the "49-Euro Ticket," but who knows how long that price will apply in light of current inflation.

As far as local transport fares are concerned, Germany is fragmented into principalities on a scale not seen since the Thirty Year’s War. There is no transport association to dictate fares and subscription prices across the country as a whole. No body that could be responsible for enforcing uniform prices. Instead, there are 17 transport ministers at the state and federal level, around 60 regional transport associations and about 600 companies in the local public transport sector. German unity is not reflected in the transport sector.


The story of the Deutschland Ticket is one involving late-night negotiations that actually produced a great idea - a brainstorm that hadn't actually even been on the table. In recent years, Germany has earned a reputation as a country where great ideas are often talked to death, where visions are repeatedly shattered by vested interests. Large renewable energy projects, for example, frequently run up against residents who are disturbed by having the shadows of wind turbines in their yards or the silhouette of liquid natural gas terminals off the coast. So how did the Deutschland Ticket become a reality in a country where, all too often, pettiness prevails?

Central Station

On March 23, 2022, senior members of the three coalition parties and a handful of ministers from those portfolios affected gathered to meet with the chancellor in the large International Conference Room on the second floor of the Chancellery. They were sitting in two rows around the table, all wearing masks when they got up due to the pandemic. Every now and then, some of those present switched between the first and second row so that no artificial hierarchy was created.

Chancellor Scholz opened the meeting in the early evening. There was food available, but the Chancellery was scheduled to leave soon because the meeting wasn't expected to be a long one. The chancellor hoped that a deal would be reached by midnight to help German citizens with rising energy costs. We need to show leadership, he told the group. Besides, he was also scheduled to fly to Brussels the next morning for a special NATO summit. Before long, though, there was no food left at the meeting but chocolate bars. Drinks, though, were plentiful, including alcoholic beverages. .............(more)


E Jean Carroll: 'invincible old lady' tells Trump rape trial of years of suffering

(Guardian UK) For decades, America saw one face of E Jean Carroll.

The sophisticated Elle magazine advice columnist, who was nominated for an Emmy while writing for Saturday Night Live, was pictured at New York media parties or found shopping for “treats” for herself on Fifth Avenue’s luxurious department stores.

In recent days, a New York jury has seen another face. That of a woman hiding away the cost of a dark secret – her alleged rape by Donald Trump more than a quarter of a century ago.

The worlds of Carroll and the nine jurors who are being asked to reach the unprecedented conclusion that a former, and possibly future, president is a rapist are unlikely to have collided. The six men and three women mostly hold blue-collar jobs. Four are Black, including a west African immigrant.


But even as Carroll offered a glimpse into that rarefied world during hours of testimony in her civil lawsuit against the former president for battery and defamation, she revealed to the jury a darker universe she has inhabited since Trump allegedly pinned her against a dressing room wall and raped her in 1996.

For 20 years, Carroll did not speak of the alleged attack to anyone but a couple of close friends and, even then, only once and never again. .............(more)


Opinion: Banning books, censoring information, won't keep our kids from the truth

Opinion: Banning books, censoring information, won't keep our kids from the truth
Keith A. Owens
Keith A. Owens is a local writer and co-founder of Detroit Stories Quarterly and the We Are Speaking Substack newsletter and podcast.

(Detroit Free Press) It's hard to understand why Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to despise Disney World as much as he does, when fantasy is what he does best. Because no matter how hard you try to float above reality, the laws of gravity will always tug you back down to Earth.

Among the growing list of the governor’s reprehensible activities is his determination to make sure that indoctrination replaces education in Florida schools. This stems from the widely shared fear among the MAGA-controlled Republican base that the young people might actually develop questions about the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave once they begin to learn the uncomfortable truth about such things as slavery, how the west was really won, and what took so long to allow women the right to vote. So DeSantis figures the best way to prevent this potential catastrophe of an educated citizenry is to bomb the station before the train departs.

But the attempt to protect the people from the threat of fact-based intelligence isn’t just going on in Florida, it’s a Hail Mary arcing across the entire country promoting the desperate MAGA belief that if they can just turn out the lights in America’s classrooms fast enough, maybe the kids won’t realize they’re sitting in a dark room. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll stop being woke and become convinced it was always that way.


What DeSantis and others tripping along the same twisted path haven’t yet figured out is that these kids have already learned the lessons Republicans are trying to pro-actively shield them from — and they’re not having it. They know they are being lied to, and — at least in Nashville (to start) — they have made up their minds that they will crank their voices up to maximum disruption until someone pays attention.

Once again, it is the children who are providing the adults with an education. Summer is on the way, and school is just now getting in session. ............(more)


Five people killed in south-east Texas shooting

Five people including an eight-year-old child have been killed in a shooting at a home in Cleveland, Texas, ABC News reported

The shooting took place late on Friday and the police were still looking for the suspect, it cited local police and authorities as saying.

Officials from the San Jacinto County sheriff’s office received a call about harassment at around 11.31pm local time.

The office told ABC that the suspect was a Mexican man who was intoxicated, armed and on the run.

The Cleveland police department did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment, and the San Jacinto County sheriff’s office could not be reached. ...........(more)


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