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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,422

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

If you owned Manhattan island and were persuaded to trade it, what would you hope to get in return?


So these are the Banda Islands of modern-day Indonesia. You can see Run all the way over there on the left.

"In the 17th century, nutmeg was considered precious -- it grew only on the Banda Islands in the East Indies and was thought to protect against plague. With the Treaty of Breda, which ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch (who had prevailed militarily) secured a worldwide monopoly on nutmeg by forcing England to give up Run, the most remote of the Banda Islands. But the English did manage to get a little something in return: a lightly inhabited New World island called Manhattan."
-- from "Lessons from the Past", David Goodstein's American Scientist
review of Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History


This came as news to me. I always thought of the English just taking the colony of New Amsterdam away from the Dutch and leaving them crying. (Not so much the people living in New Amsterdam, who were there to make money, mind you, and pretty much went right ahead with their plan once they had a different flag flying over their heads. But I figure the Dutch owners took it personally. Like if you were the Dutch governor general of the little colony, you were out of a job.) Who knew that the English eventually forked over what we today would call "compensation," and not in the form of draft choices. Following the ancient precepts of island-trading (this part I'm just making up), they gave an island for an island (this part, however, I'm not making up).

BEHOLD THE ISLAND OF RUN

It's pronounced, we're told, to rhyme with "dune," and is also known as Rhun and Pulo Run. It's seen here from an approaching boat.


All photos by Muhammad Fadli via National Geographic

Writer Janna Dotschkal explains in "The Spice Trade’s Forgotten Island," an installment in National Geographic's "PROOF: Picture Stories" series, that "there’s just something about an isolated island that captures my imagination." Which apparently mad her a sucker for the Run story.

Run isn't the "important trade lynchpin" it was back in the 17th century, when it supplied nutmeg to a nutmeg-crazy world. (One assumes that back then nutmeg lovers knew that you have to grate the stuff to order off a little nutmeg nut -- that the flavor of the powdered you get in the little cans and bottles pretending to be nutmeg bears no relation to the real stuff.) Nowadays, in fact, Run is way off the beaten travel path. You don't just log onto Travelocity and book a flight there, or even a bracing ferry ride from some convenient destination port. As Janna learned in her e-correspondence with photographer Muhammad Fadli, who we're told "is part of the Arka Project, a photography collective based in Indonesia," it took him "a four-hour flight, an eight-hour voyage on a passenger liner, and a rickety boat ride" to get there, with the goal of "captur{ing} its isolation."

Read more: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2015/06/if-you-owned-manhattan-island-and-were.html

Follow-up: Longview police officers cleared in teen's deadly shooting


Kristiana Coignard, 17, was reportedly shot to death by Longview police officers in the lobby of the police station, Jan. 22, 2015.

No charges will be sought against officers who fatally shot a 17-year-old girl in the Longview Police Department lobby in January.

According to information released Friday by Gregg County District Attorney Carl Dorrough's office, a grand jury has declined to take action against the officers because deadly force was authorized in circumstances involved in the shooting.

Officers Glenn Derr, Gene Duffie and Grace Bagley were involved in the death of Kristiana Coignard, who was shot Jan. 22 in the police department lobby after she asked to speak to an officer and then brandished a weapon at them.

Dorrough said in a statement Friday that Coignard used the lobby telephone to call a telecommunications operator and ask for help.

Read more: http://www.news-journal.com/news/2015/jun/27/longview-police-officers-cleared-in-teens-deadly-s/ (Longview News-Journal)

Earlier threads:
Longview police shooting victim ID’d as 17 year-old girl with knife; Anonymous vows retaliation
Follow-up: Teen woman shot at Longview police station had ‘suicide-type note’

Vitter tweet from Chick-fil-A draws ire and support on day of gay marriage ruling

WASHINGTON – Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is getting some heat and support on Twitter for posting a picture of himself Friday (June 26) holding a Chick-fil-A sandwich and proclaiming, "Chick-fil-A kind of day."

That happened to be the same day the Supreme Court proclaimed that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.

David VitterVerified account
‏@DavidVitter
Chick-fil-A kind of day



Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, for those who forgot, generated controversy in 2012 when he condemned gay marriage. He eventually pulled back on those remarks, telling USA Today in 2014: "We sincerely care about all people."

It didn't take long for Vitter's comment and photo on Twitter to draw negative reaction -- most of the comments focusing on the senator's 2007 apology after his phone number appeared on records for a Washington escort service.

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/06/vittters_chick-fil-a_visit_on.html#incart_2box_

State agency accused of violating rights of disabled

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has determined that human services officials violated the privacy, dignity and respect of people with disabilities during body checks to determine whether residents at state-run group homes had been abused.

The health department’s findings, based on interviews with group-home staffers and residents’ guardians, said human services officials failed to follow polices regarding mistreatment, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Relatives of the residents complained that 62 people were strip-searched at 10 community group homes and a day center for people with developmental disabilities. It was found in numerous instances that the search was conducted in such a way as to cause significant distress, according to the findings.

Human services director Reggie Bicha said in a statement that he regretted not asking for guardians’ permission before the skin checks but that he had “significant factual basis to believe residents in all 10 group homes and the day program were subject to unacceptable and imminent risk to their health and safety.”

Read more: http://www.abqjournal.com/605234/news-around-the-region/state-agency-accused-of-violating-rights-of-disabled.html

Here’s why the loss of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is a big deal for NASA

The loss of today’s Falcon 9 rocket is a critical one for NASA.

The vehicle carried 4,000 pounds in supplies, from food and water to about 70 scientific experiments to hardware for the space station itself.

Among that hardware was the first of two International Docking Adapters, designed to make it possible for commercial crew vehicles being developed by SpaceX and Boeing to dock to the space station.

This 1,000-pound adapter was due to be installed during a future spacewalk to allow SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 to begin docking as early as late 2016 or early 2017. So not only did one of NASA’s commercial crew providers experience a serious problem today, the agency lost a critical piece of commercial crew hardware.

Read more: http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2015/06/heres-why-the-loss-of-spacexs-falcon-9-rocket-is-a-big-deal-for-nasa/#22787101=0


The International Docking Adapter at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA)

Cross-posted in the General Discussion forum.

Here’s why the loss of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is a big deal for NASA

The loss of today’s Falcon 9 rocket is a critical one for NASA.

The vehicle carried 4,000 pounds in supplies, from food and water to about 70 scientific experiments to hardware for the space station itself.

Among that hardware was the first of two International Docking Adapters, designed to make it possible for commercial crew vehicles being developed by SpaceX and Boeing to dock to the space station.

This 1,000-pound adapter was due to be installed during a future spacewalk to allow SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 to begin docking as early as late 2016 or early 2017. So not only did one of NASA’s commercial crew providers experience a serious problem today, the agency lost a critical piece of commercial crew hardware.

Read more: http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2015/06/heres-why-the-loss-of-spacexs-falcon-9-rocket-is-a-big-deal-for-nasa/#22787101=0


The International Docking Adapter at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA)

Cross-posted in the Science Group.

Interactive map of counties and their stance of issuing same sex marriage licenses.

Please go to the bottom of the link at http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/06/paxton-county-clerks-may-refuse-on-religious-grounds-to-issue-same-sex-marriage-licenses.html/

Note that I erroneously listed Willacy County as issuing licenses in my previous post.

5 Things Right-Wingers Can Do To Feel Better About Being Such Losers This Week

When the GOP took the Senate in a disturbing yet predictable red and purple state election cycle, liberals and moderates worried that with our only defense of the absolute insanity of the right-wing being the White House that the President’s last two years would be wrought with disappointment and riddled with vetoes. Within a couple of weeks, a revitalized Barack Obama took to the task of governing, and decided that if congress was determined to continue sitting on their hands doing nothing, he would move the country forward himself.

The result was a calmer, cooler President with little to lose, taking what would normally be a lame duck half-term and turning it into a history making, GOP butthurt-causing time to point at them and laugh.

Stupidity, bigotry, ignorance and hate would not win.

This past week is the epitome of shame for the right. Not only did their nemesis, the black man in the White House, get to see his signature healthcare law cemented down by the Supreme Court, the actions of one of their own unspeakably evil conservatives led to the demise of a century and a half old racist symbol that adorned government buildings, courtyards, and monuments throughout the south.

See the list at http://www.ifyouonlynews.com/politics/5-things-right-wingers-can-do-to-feel-better-about-being-such-losers-this-week/

Paxton: State workers can deny licenses to same-sex couples

Texas’ conservative Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton calls the Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry a “lawless ruling” and says state workers can cite their religious objections in denying marriage licenses.

He warned in a statement Sunday that any clerk, justice of the peace or other administrator who declines to issue a license to a same-sex couple could face litigation or a fine.

But in the nonbinding legal opinion, Paxton says “numerous lawyers” stand ready to defend, free of charge, any public official refusing to grant one.

In its 5-4 opinion Friday, the Supreme Court’s ruling did nothing to eliminate rights of religious liberty, Paxton’s opinion states.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2015-06-28/paxton-state-workers-can-deny-licenses-same-sex-couples#.VZB9cUYT91M

A-hole.

The Latest: Germany warns travelers to Greece to bring cash

Source: AP

2:35 p.m.

Germany's Foreign Ministry is advising travelers to Greece to ensure they have enough cash on them before they depart.

An updated version of the ministry's travel advice issued Sunday noted that people seeking to withdraw cash in Greece could face "significant waits" and possible shortages at cash machines.

Worried Greeks were lining up at ATM machines on Sunday, the day after the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for a referendum on creditors' financial proposals in return for rescue loans and creditors refused to extend Greece's international bailout beyond Tuesday.

While some machines in Greece were running out of cash, others were being replenished. Another top Greek financial official urged Greeks on Sunday to remain calm and not withdraw all their savings.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/latest-greece-wants-ecb-keep-giving-emergency-help-093416301.html
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