Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

All The News: Memorial, Trinity

Half Mast

Walt Stoneburner.  

On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.


Memorial Day Planet Parade: See Jupiter, Mercury & Venus

In honor of Holy Trinity Sunday, I will offer news in groups of three.  


Rockets in Lebanon capital signal Syrian spillover

AP hosted by New Zealand Herald

Two rockets have hit Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut, tearing through an apartment and peppering cars with shrapnel, a day after the Lebanese group’s leader pledged to lift President Bashar Assad to victory in Syria’s civil war.

The strikes illustrated the potential backlash against Hezbollah at home for linking its fate to the survival of the Assad regime. It’s a gambit that also threatens to pull fragile Lebanon deeper into Syria’s bloody conflict.

Despite such risks, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made it clear there is no turning back. In a televised speech Saturday, he said Hezbollah will keep fighting alongside Assad’s forces until victory, regardless of the costs.

For Hezbollah, it may well be an existential battle. If Assad falls, Hezbollah’s supply line of Iranian weapons through Syrian territory would dry up and it could become increasingly isolated in the region.

At the same time, Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group, is raising the sectarian stakes in Lebanon by declaring war on Syria’s rebels, most of them Sunni Muslims.

Pakistan-Taliban Talks Agreement; Amir Wasim

The PML-N and JUI-F may not have reached the power-sharing formula at the centre, but they claim to have worked out a mechanism for holding talks with the Taliban.

Sources in the two parties told Dawn that both sides had decided that the talks with the Taliban would be held through a “grand peace jirga” as suggested by all the mainstream political parties in a “declaration” of the all-party conference (APC) organised by the JUI-F in Islamabad on Feb 28.

When contacted, JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai quoted party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as saying that an agreement had been reached between the two parties on the steps needed to be taken for achieving peace in the country through negotiations with the Taliban.

The JUI-F chief said that soon after coming to power, the PML-N government would prepare a “serious plan” for talks with the Taliban after taking all “stakeholders and policy-making institutions” on board. The government, he said, would then prepare a “roadmap” in the light of the outcome of the consultations.

Annual Report:  Bahrain

Amnesty International


There was a continuing climate of impunity, reflected by the low number of prosecutions of police officers and security forces members relative to the extent and gravity of human rights violations committed in 2011. The authorities failed to independently investigate all allegations of torture. Only a handful of low-ranking security officers and two senior officers were brought to trial in connection with killings of protesters or torture and other abuses against detainees in custody in 2011. Three were convicted and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment but at least one remained at liberty pending an appeal. Three others were acquitted, prompting a prosecution appeal.

   In September, a court acquitted two security officers of killing two protesters at Manama’s Pearl Roundabout on 17 February 2011. The officers’ own statements were reported to be the only evidence presented and they did not attend court hearings. The prosecution lodged an appeal against the verdict in October.

There’s sections on “Excessive Use of Force” and “Torture” too.  


If 12 trees are good, are 100 trees really better?

EDF; Jamie Workman

But as times have changed, so have economic incentives. Western markets value an acre-foot at $450 to $650, which means that the water taken up by excess trees throughout the Western forests may annually be worth more than $8.5 billion. To recover that water, private and local public entities could invest $1,000 per acre in people to cut down small, fire-prone trees, yielding $1,500 worth of vital water per acre.

This contractual approach to the forest – anchored by Western cities like Spokane, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Bend, Reno, Albuquerque, Sacramento or Bozeman – would pay for itself while reducing fuel loads, slashing carbon emissions, increasing water runoff to streams and rivers, raising revenues, and boosting meaningful job growth in rural areas. What’s not to like?

There is no need for Federal or State funds or new laws; in fact state and federal regulators should cut the red tape that might hold up local agreements between cities and rural areas that could restore forest health and replenish shrunken rivers.

Prosecution of Native fishermen is just wrong  

Alaska Daily News; Shannyn Moore

In an attempt to make the waste seem benevolent, Bering Sea processors passed on almost half a million pounds of the fish to food banks in Washington.

The bycatch bypassed Alaskans. So maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Hey, just give the bycatch salmon to the folks on the river and it’s all good!”

But that won’t fill the need described by the fishermen on trial in Bethel. It’s not just about food, it’s about purpose and family and connection to the land.

The state sees the salmon as “a resource” to be “managed” and sold. First Alaskans see salmon as one reason they’ve been able to exist here. Salmon may not have a special place in my religion, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t spiritually important for others.

Subsistence fishermen shouldn’t be prosecuted for gathering food that corporations are allowed to waste.

Turkey offers pipelines to Cyprus, Israel, Iraq

Hürriyet Daily News; Serkan Demirtaş

nergy-hungry Turkey has offered to cooperate with its oil and gas-rich southern neighbors for the exploration and transportation of their hydrocarbon products to world markets via Turkey. It has particularly called out to Israel and Cyprus, which recently had problems over the legality of the licenses issued for petroleum exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Israeli officials, local officials in Greek Cyprus and representatives of the TRNC [Turkish Republic of the Northern Cyprus], they have all agreed on one reality: The natural gas to be produced from this region will get its utmost feasibility by a pipeline that will pass through Turkey. All relevant figures prove this idea,” Energy Minister Taner Yıldız told the Hürriyet Daily News in a comprehensive interview outlining the Turkish government’s energy policies regarding oil and gas reserves of its southern neighbors.

Yıldız held substantial meetings with acting Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy for energy issues Carlos Pascual last week in Washington. The meetings were crucially important as the two allies found themselves on opposite sides on a number of issues related to Baghdad-Ankara tension over the latter’s growing interest in making deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government and to the Turkey-Cyprus quarrel over the Greek Cypriot government’s ambitious moves for oil exploration in the disputed areas of the Mediterranean.

I am not sure how this is different than Keystone XXL.  


Measles: Cases in Swansea and Powys reach 1,125


The number of measles cases in Swansea and Powys has risen by 20, bringing the total to 1,125, public health officials have said.

Since November 2012, there have been 1,325 diagnoses throughout Wales.

Public Health Wales (PHW) expressed concern over the figures in what is the final week of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) school vaccination clinics across Wales.

More than 50,000 people have being vaccinated over the last two months.

Dr Marion Lyons, director of health protection for Public Health Wales, said: “This is the final week that children in schools across Wales will be offered the MMR vaccination, so parents whose children have not yet been fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR are reminded to complete the consent form to ensure the vaccine can be given.”

Thank you Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthey.  end #sarcasm

Electric Avenue: Solar Road Panels Offer Asphalt Alternative

Der Spiegel; Sören Harder

A lot of thought is put into how much energy we use to drive from point A to B. But what if the road itself could generate energy? Julie and Scott Brusaw, a married couple from Sandpoint, Idaho, have taken on just such a concept, which they hope will make the auto transport of the future cleaner and safer.

The idea is as simple as it is ingenious. Wherever roads are laid, solar panels could go instead. They would generate electricity, which would in turn be fed into the grid. Thus, oil is conserved twice: Electric cars could be charged with the energy produced by the panels, and the panels would replace the use of asphalt, the production of which requires petroleum.

Moreover, Solar Roadways, as the Brusaws have dubbed their invention, are heated and equipped with integrated LED screens, which act not only as street markings, but can also show warnings directly on the road.

The Brusaws are aware that their vision cannot be realized in a day. They’ve decided to start small: with pedestrian and bicycle paths or large parking lots at supermarkets. As they see it, every square meter of asphalt that gets replaced with Solar Roadway is a small step on the path toward independence from fossil fuels. The giant leap would be to take on urban roads and highways on a global scale.

Neon Vincent or rfall – did you-all pick this story up already?  I was surprised to find something I never heard of in Der Spiegel, on this topic at least.  And it’s right up the road from me.  

Science Reading List

It’s Okay To Be Smart; Joe Hanson

Read Science, Love Science

Everyone’s always asking me “Hey, Joe … got any book recommendations for someone who wants to read about science?” You bet I do! I have a whole mess of ’em, and it’s constantly be updated. It will never be comprehensive, but if I’ve missed one of your favorites, tweet me or email me at itsokaytobesmart< at >

Stand on the intellectual shoulders of scientific giants and you’ll be amazed what you can see. Whether they are gifts or for yourself, my humble recommendations:

First and foremost, the Best Science Writing Online 2012 collection, because I’m in it, duh.


Cosmos – Carl Sagan: The book that needs no introduction. It will change your life. As a general rule, if Carl Sagan wrote it, you should read it. Literally, even his grocery lists were probably amazing.

Death From the Skies – Phil Plait: The world will end one day. Here’s a book to separate the science from the conspiracies.

Space Chronicles – Neil deGrasse Tyson: The history of how we got humans to space, and the challenges of continuing to do so. Also check out Death by Black Hole.

Yes, now I am cheating.  But I am out of time!  


Utah attorney general’s office: high work, low morale

Salt Lake Tribune; Marissa Lang

Every day at the Utah attorney general’s office, lawsuits are filed and fought. Briefs are written and read. Cases are won and lost.

Despite federal and state investigations into the conduct of Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, the foot soldiers who keep the office running are still at it.

But the ballooning scandal has made life at Utah’s top law enforcement agency more difficult every week, employees in the office told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Embarrassment, fear and frustration have taken their toll on the morale of the office’s rank and file. For some, it’s a daily struggle – to get up, go to work and feel good about it.

“I really never thought it could possibly get this bad,” said an employee who has worked in the office for more than 15 years. “Morale is the lowest I’ve ever seen it.”

The Tribune is not naming several state employees who discussed the deteriorating work environment because they worry about retribution and job security.

Swallow, who took office in January, conceded the investigations and intense media glare are not making life in the office any easier, but he stopped short of blaming them for the difficulties.

The NY and CA AG’s make great news stories.  The Utah AG, not so much.  Just takes bribes, apparently.  

Utah entering ‘100 Deadliest Days’ for car accidents

Fox 13; Mark Green

The Utah Highway Patrol and Utah Department of Transportation are calling the span between Memorial Day and Labor Day the “100 Deadliest Days.” UHP officials said there are more people on the road during that time, which means the chances of fatal accidents increase.

According to a press release from the Utah Department of Transportation, the most recent numbers show 53 fatalities have occurred in Utah to date. There are an average of 96 fatalities each year during Utah’s “100 Deadliest Days.”

“Fatalities traditionally increase by at least 35 percent during the days between Memorial and Labor Days,” said Robert Hull, UDOT Director of Traffic and Safety. “As we go into the deadliest time of year on Utah’s roadways it is critical that motorists follow traffic laws, always wear their seat belts, and don’t drive drowsy, distracted, aggressively or impaired. If we all do our part, a majority of these fatalities can be prevented.”

Be careful out there!

Native American tribe buries remains, 150 years after massacre

Deseret News; Wendy Leonard

Near the northern Utah border lies an obscure, but sacred spot of ground where hundreds of Native American remains are buried.

Four additional souls were welcomed to the privately owned cemetery Saturday, marking “a day of joy” for the surviving and thriving Northwestern Shoshone Nation, said Darren Parry, the tribe’s vice chairman.

Though the ceremony was conducted “old-school,” consisting of ancient Native American customs, Parry said the entire tribe subscribes to beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He has credited their faith and the tribal members’ 1873 LDS conversion as a major reason they’re still around today, having avoided placement on government reservations and other persecution through the years due to their registry with the church.

I went to the D-news site hoping to find something on the Boy Scout vote, and there was NOTHING.  Instead, this bizarre article about how the LDS church saved the Native Americans is posted on Memorial Day weekend.  


Iwo Jima

Floyd Red Foxx Tumblr

This Memorial Day you will inevitably see many posts about the famous raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. And to me this flag is more than a victory photo. It is hope for the future, because out of the 5 Marines and 1 Sailor that raised this flag 1 Ira Hayes was a Pima Native American from Arizona and another Michael Strank was a foreign born man fighting for the USA. Remember these men and thank them because 3 of them didn’t even make it home to see the dream they were fighting for.

Ira, Franklin, Michael, John, Rene, Marten – these men have names.  

New Port Richey airman’s words, deeds in World War II echo for generations; Bill Stevens

Six months before graduation, Colgan and the rest of the student body had gathered around a radio in the cafeteria to listen to reports of the Pearl Harbor attack. Now most of the men in their small town were heading off to the armed forces. Colgan spent a year at the University of Florida and then enlisted in the Army Air Forces.

Typical of the young man who had posted one of the highest college aptitude scores in the nation, Colgan excelled. He learned to operate radios and finished at the top of his 400-member class at aerial gunners school. On Sept. 4, 1944, he turned 20, ready for war. He was assigned to a B-17 Flying Fortress.

Forty-five yellow bombs painted near its nose heralded the number of missions the Betsy Ross had survived, striking Nazi positions from home base in Nuthampstead, England – a remarkable endurance considering the 398th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force lost roughly one in 20 airmen in combat.

I think pretty soon we will get stories like this about Vietnam vets, and our current wars, too.  

Shoebox Parade Activity;  Chelsey McNiel

This weekend families nationwide will celebrate Memorial Day with camping trips, backyard barbeques and water recreation. The meaning of this important holiday can get lost in the thrill of a fun day off from school and work, but it’s important to remember our past and the people who helped us achieve a better life.

Heifer International began a humble mission when founder Dan West’s idea of “not a cup, but a cow,” began changing lives. Now, Heifer has helped over 65 million impoverished people with the gift of livestock and education. The Beglaryan family of Armenia left their home in Shikahogh village because of war with a neighboring country. With Heifer Armenia’s help, their home was restored from its postwar conditions and they returned to their village with hope for a peaceful and successful future.

Help children understand the importance of honoring those who gave us a brighter future by holding a Memorial Day Shoebox Parade.


Minimalist Movie Posters

4 Little Girls

Kasia Jackowska Drawings  These are so clever and artful and creative.  Mathematic principles illustrated.  

Crossposted from orange.


  1. Stunned By Military Sex Scandals, Advocates Demand Changes

    West Point alum Donna McAleer was at her Utah home last week when she got a call asking if she’d “seen the latest.”

    A male Army sergeant, a friend told her, had just been charged with secretly photographing and videotaping at least a dozen female cadets at McAleer’s alma mater.

    Many of the women were naked; some images were taken in a bathroom at the U.S. Military Academy in New York. The revelations followed a rash of recent incidents, among them stunning reports that at least three ranking male officers overseeing military sexual assault prevention programs have themselves been charged in the past month with crimes ranging from sexual battery to stalking.

    “How many of these stories are we going to hear?” asks McAleer, a field admissions officer for the academy. “I want to be able to, with confidence, encourage people – daughters and sons – to serve their country.”

    More from McAleer:

    So it should come as no surprise that parents, with more and more frequency, are asking recruiters if their daughters, and sons, will be safe in the military – a question prompted not by roadside bombs, but assault statistics. McAleer, the West Point recruiter and author of Porcelain on Steel, a collection of profiles of accomplished female academy graduates, says the answer is no, as long as the military continues to rely on its chain-of-command system to hear, investigate and prosecute assault claims from the ranks.

    She is arguing, along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), for a separate legal system.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) advises against a separate legal system, saying that the Pentagon would block any bill containing that. Well, of course they would, Senator, they want to protect their prerogatives. So when the tough get pushback, they simply give up? Work for the best thing for those being assaulted regardless of who is offended. The Pentagon brass lost their right to fix this in a way that was convenient for them by ignoring the problem.  

  2. slksfca

    …about a local man, an elderly veteran of WWII. He’ll be getting the Medal of the Legion of Honor from the French government for a forgotten act of heroism on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

    The medal is France’s highest award, IIRC, and has been awarded to both civilian and military recipients, including General Eisenhower.

    I don’t have a link but the story touched me and I thought it worth sharing.

  3. Top Democrat Announces Bipartisan ‘Gang Of Eight’ To Draft Media Shield Law

    I always get nervous about these supposed bipartisan Gangs. I remember the Gang of 14 that made it possible for a hack like Samuel Alito to get a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.

    Here is the goal of this newest gang:

    The bill would set up rules under which the government has to “exhaust other methods for finding the source of the information before subpoenaing a reporter,” inform the news agency about its intention to subpoena records, and prove to a judge that the information sought outweighs journalistic freedoms.

    This is a sensible solution and the White House supports this law. It is rather telling that this law, which has been pursued by Democrats in the past, only garners Republican support when it is one of their own who is targeted. Hypocrisy much?

  4. Poll: Majority Of Americans Still Oppose Obamacare

    … 54 percent said they oppose the health care reform law while 43 percent said they support it.

    Thirty-five percent said they oppose Obamacare because it’s too liberal; 16 percent said they oppose it because it’s not liberal enough.

    I blame a lazy mainstream media which published all the lies because they couldn’t be bothered finding the facts. And a right-wing media which pumped out those lies that were lapped up by the lazy mainstream media. It worked in 2010, the “Hey government, hands off my Medicare!!” election and it failed in 2012.

    If you take the 16 percent who think Obamacare is not liberal enough and add that to the supporters (these would be called “People Who Think The Government Should Provide Better Access to Health Care”), you get 59 percent.

    Let’s see if running against government helping provide access to healthcare works in 2014.

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