Author: winter b

Midday Matinee – True Ghost Stories

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. It’s Halloween. What better time for some true ghost stories? I’ve long had mixed feelings about the whole idea of ghosts. I probably would have dismissed the notion entirely except that I once lived in a haunted house, and that experience left me with an uncomfortable question or two. What was it and why would it happen? And then I had an experience in St. Augustine, Florida that opened the whole question again. When I was in high school I experienced what some ghost researchers call a residual haunting: something that happens repeatedly and follows the same pattern every time, like a recording playing again and again. Night after night, I would hear footsteps in the house, climbing the basement stairs, walking through the dining room and into the kitchen which was right next to my bedroom. Then it would stop. I finally told my mother about it, to explain why I wanted a light on at night, and she snapped, “You’re being dramatic. And don’t you dare mention it to the other kids. The last thing I need is four terrified children.” Well. Many years later she apologized for that reaction. It seems the “residual” haunt had grown over the years. All my siblings and my mother herself had experiences. The...

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Morning Feature: Digging deeper in the water

I’m taking a break with my morning caffeine today. I need to chill a bit from politics, so I’m going to look into something else. Champion open-water swimmer Francis Crippen died yesterday, and he shouldn’t have. To find out why, let’s dig deeper. (More) Francis (Fran) Crippen was well-known in his sport, and headed for the Olympics. He was the silver medalist in the 10k at the Pan Pacific championships in August, earned a bronze medal in the 10k at the 2009 world championships, was national champion in the 5k in 2009, and won a gold medal in the 10K at the 2007 Pan American Games. He was the kind of guy people respected. His coach Richard Shoulberg recalled how Crippen sacrificed his own time at this year’s Pan Pacific meet by turning around to help teammate Alex Myers, who had fallen behind and appeared to be in trouble. “He went back to help him until the Jet Ski with the first-aid guys got there,” Shoulberg said. “He just missed winning by a hand.” There are many stories about Crippen’s death, but as yet the facts are few and far between. We know that a number of swimmers were hospitalized after the race. We know that Crippen, an experienced open water competitor, was discovered dead about 400 meters from the finish of the 10K race, two hours after the race ended. Swimmers...

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Noontime News Roundup – October 22, 2010

Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour. Polluter-Funded Groups Spending Almost $70 Million On Anti-Clean Energy Ads “Amid an unprecedented surge in mostly secret money into this year’s election campaign, a new report released yesterday by the Center for American Progress Action Fund details how 13 right-wing groups — including large secret money groups like American Crossroads, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and American Action Network — have spent more than $68.5 million this year on “misleading and fictitious televisions ads designed to shape midterm elections and advance their anti-clean energy reform agenda.” In addition to the anti-clean energy ads polluting our airwaves, an earlier CAPAF report outlined an astonishing $242 million in spending on lobbying by the 20 biggest oil, mining, and electric utility companies.” ∞ Everyone Is Violating FEC Rules! “It’s less than two weeks until election day, which means the time for levying complaints with the Federal Election Commission against political opponents is well underway.” ∞ U.S. officials, experts: No high-level Afghan peace talks under way “Despite news reports of high-level talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, no significant peace negotiations are under way in Afghanistan, U.S. officials and Afghanistan experts said Thursday. “ ∞ GOP Candidate Hartzler Wants ‘Government To Leave Us Alone’ Yet Has Taken $774,325 In Federal Subsidies “Yesterday, GOP congressional candidate Vicky...

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Morning Feature: The Rights We’ve Always Had?

Community college student Yassir Afifi didn’t want a legal debate on privacy. He just wanted an oil change. After his mechanic found an odd device on the car, Afifi posted a photo online asking if anyone recognized it. Then the FBI came to his apartment. They wanted their GPS tracker back. (More) Yassir Afifi had no idea the FBI had installed a GPS tracker in his car. Neither did a judge, because the FBI had no warrant. Under a Ninth Circuit decision, U.S. v. Pineda-Moreno (2010), law enforcement agents don’t need a search warrant to sneak into your driveway at night and install a GPS tracker under your car. Well, they might if you’re rich. If you have a fence or hedges that enclose your front lawn and driveway, then the 9th Circuit said you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. But if you’re an ordinary American whose driveway is open to the street, apparently you can’t afford the Fourth Amendment. As Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in dissent to the 9th Circuit’s denial of en banc rehearing: The very rich will still be able to protect their privacy with the aid of electric gates, tall fences, security booths, remote cameras, motion sensors and roving patrols, but the vast majority of the 60 million people living in the Ninth Circuit will see their privacy materially diminished by the panel’s...

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Furthermore! – The Trophy takes a Trophy

This is a progressive site, and therefore it’s hardly surprising to find out I’m a tree-hugger who absolutely loathes trophy hunting and trophy hunters. But what happens when the trophy takes a trophy? And what do we learn from this? (More) My notion of trophy hunters is probably incredibly biased, and negatively so. Have at me if you want. But it seems to me people who can spend multiple thousands of dollars to go to Africa (the dream of a lifetime for me, never to be afforded) probably have more time and money on their hands than they know what to do with. Particularly so those for whom this isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime trip. They certainly show little compassion for animals, little concern for the environment. They are motivated primarily by the thrill of killing something, the hunt, the stalking, and — let’s face it — the idea of having a trophy to hang on the wall and some great stories to tell friends over brandy. That’s really what it’s all about. I don’t want to hear about how it’s man at his most natural, and it’s sporting. It stopped being sporting when we developed the rifle. You want to be sporting, you go out and go hand-to-paw or head-to-horn with that animal. Don’t stand safely off in the distance, sight in with your high-powered scope and shoot the thing while it’s lazing around....

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