Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Houston: Scenes from a City Under Water

 by Nomad

Embed from Getty Images
Houston, the nation's fourth largest city and the most populous city in the state of Texas, is under water in the wake of the persistent Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds made its first landfall on Friday, 25 August and raged throughout the weekend. By Monday, it was clear that Harvey was going nowhere. By Wednesday, Harvey was making its second landfall.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Document that Rocked Washington: A Second Look at the Steele Dossier

 by Nomad

Since its release by Buzzfeed last January, the so-called Steele dossier has more than earned the descriptive adjectives "infamous" and "explosive." In light of subsequent revelations, it might be a good time to review the file again.

The Origins of the Document

Firstly, let's examine how the Steele Dossier came into existence.

Last June, 52-year-old Christopher Steele, ex-Cambridge Union president, ex-M.I.6 Moscow field agent and ex-head of M.I.6’s Russia desk, ex-adviser to British Special Forces on capture-or-kill ops in Afghanistan, was offered an assignment through his private British intelligence firm, Orbis Business Intelligence. Suffice to say, with a CV like that, his work should not be taken lightly. Or to put it another way, Steele was not a tabloid scribbler, hunter for celebrity scandals.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Delicious Diversions: Ten Easy-to-Prepare Turkish Recipes

by Nomad

This weekend, what with devastating hurricanes and Trump's pardoning nonsense, I thought it was time to divert your attentions away from politics. And what better way than a discussion of food?
I thought it was the right time to share some splendid recipes from my neck of the woods.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Exodus: How Americans are Turning their Backs on Organized Religion

 by Nomad

As a child, I was never obligated to go to church on Sundays. It was, my parents said, something which they felt they should leave up to me. Although I can't recall any quotes, I sensed that in our home, organized religion was not highly thought of. It was, my mom and dad often implied, little better than a racket.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Orange Poison: How Toxins in Ohio Streams Are Being Turned into Works of Art

 by Nomad

When you hear Mr. Trump talk about opening new mines, there's something he doesn't mention about coal mines. We all know about the environmental damage caused by burning coal. Parts of China have been rendered uninhabitable from the coal smoke pollution. And of course, as a carbon, coal adds to the greenhouse gas levels.

However, what is less discussed is the harm caused by mines themselves. That's true even for mine operations that have long been shut down. Decades after the mines have been closed, and the companies have been forgotten, and any person who had anything to do with the mine has become a permanent underground fixture,  the poisons continue to leach out of the ground.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Rift" - A Look at Life for the "Have Nots"

by Nomad

This award-winning documentary was directed American writer-director, Travis Hanour. It reveals the struggles of an impoverished family at the edge of the Great Rift Valley. We meet a brave, 14-year-old boy named Henry as he goes about his daily routine.
Hanour explains:
We found a village in Kijabe with a wealth of compelling stories. The children and families here require superhuman bravery and perseverance in order to survive. But at the same time, they exude an infectious amount of joy. This is a truly humbling dynamic to witness.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Return of the Florida Panther: Something Close to a Success Story

 by Endless Summer

A remarkable tale of survival of Florida's wild cat.

A Small Band of Survivors

When European settlers arrived in North America wild cats roamed the entire continent. As population on the Eastern Seaboard increased, habitat for large predators became scarce.

For decades American farmers and ranchers hunted to eliminate predators like wolves and cats, hunted them to the brink of extinction. The survivors moved primarily to the west. But one small band of wild cats moved south. They survive today in Florida’s Everglades.

We know them as cougars and mountain lions, catamounts, puma and panther. Documented by Spanish conquistadors in the 1500’s, by the late 1800’s they had disappeared from the east and the mid-west. Survivors continued to move west, but by the late 1960’s they were threatened with extinction.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why It's Time for the Rabble-Rousing Right-Wing Media and Politicians to Pay the Piper

by Nomad

Denying, Thrashing and Flailing

The phrase "to pay the piper" is described as having "to bear the consequences of an action or activity that one has enjoyed." That perfectly describes what's been going on in the right wing media ever since this last weekend.

Those who have sat back and supported Trump- and continue to support him- despite all of the warning signs during his hate-filled rallies- are now attempting in vain to find solid ground again after the events in Virginia.

It's tough going. They are in a bit of an uncertain quandary, searching for some way to distance themselves from the worst images of the "Unite the Right" rally, to clear the president's name (and their own ) while also attempting not to contradict their own past statements. 
It's a wonder to behold.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Time Out: Teen Heartthrob Match Up

 by Nomad

Next week I will have few informative posts for you but for the moment, I can offer you a  diversion from the nerve-racking world of Trump politics. 

The rules of this puzzle-game are simple: Just connect faces to names of the teen idol. By the way, there are some spare photos to make the game more interesting.  
Good luck!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Lost Cause: Why HBO's "Confederate" is a Really Lousy Idea

  by Nomad


Controversy over "Confederate"

Recently HBO announced its plan to produce an alternative history called Confederate, which poses the question "What if the South had won the Civil War? What would America look like today?"

"What if..." has always been a source of great fiction but this decision sparked off a round of protests online. This was, many people felt, a really bad idea.
Co-creator David Benioff felt compelled to respond to the objections. He said that while he had "great respect" for critics, he also said that HBO also hoped that the public would "reserve judgment until there is something to see.”

Indeed, there isn't even a script yet. Benioff's comment might seem reasonable, at first glance. Yet. national correspondent for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, isn't buying it and explains why this bit of historical fiction is an idea whose time has not come.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Good News Round for Week 2- August 2017

by Nomad

It's time for a monthly roundup of brighter news than our usual fare.
I have chosen a few stories that might brighten your day somewhat. From free treatment for a killer disease whose victims were once so highly stigmatized to a fresh approach to tackling climate change, there are five links to good news stories coming your way.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Three by Don McLean

by Nomad

Whenever we think of singer and songwriter Don McLean, we remember his classic "American Pie" and the immortal "Vincent."

However, on that same 1971 album (American Pie), there were so many other great songs. I have chosen a selection of three.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Film Friday - Hate for Sale

  by Nomad

The short animation, Hate for Sale, by Anna Eijsbouts, is based on a poem by Neil Gaiman. Anna says "I like to make things move, so I became an animator."

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Think You Know Geography? Take this Challenging Trivia Quiz and Find Out

by Nomad

We are living in historical times, no doubt about that. Most of the news is bleak nowadays. So, to take your mind off of current events for a brief moment, I will be providing my friends with a few diversions.

Here's another trivia quiz, this time on geography. Fifteen questions in all. Some are easy and some are more challenging. Let me know how you do on this.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

After Last Week's Blunders, Is Donald Trump Now Officially a President in Free Fall?

by Nomad

In the heart of Texas, there's a feeling that President Trump's administration is going nowhere but down. And last week proved it.

Even before yesterday's stunning announcement that Scaramucci, a man hired only 10 days before, had been shown the exit door, Trump seemed to be unable to maintain control. Shakeups amongst his staff had quickly become a non-stop event even as Sarah Huckabee smirked and shrugged her way through press conferences with assurances that things were 120% normal.  
Like Richard Nixon in the middle of the Watergate scandal, Trump is spending more and more time and energy unsuccessfully defending himself from an avalanche of bad news. Most of it locally produced.
But every day is proving to be a little more degrading and vulgar than the day before. Last week, Trump craziness went into overdrive.