Monthly Archives: January 2016

There’s Something About Mary: Unmasking a Gun Lobby Mole

Let Our Voices Echo

Thank you David Corn, James Ridgeway, and Daniel Schulman
Lady2Soothe

MaryMary McFate was a prominent gun control activist. Mary Lou Sapone was a freelance spy with an NRA connection. They are the same person. A Mother Jones investigation.

This is the story of two Marys. Both are in their early 60s, heavyset, with curly reddish hair. But for years they have worked on opposite ends of the same issues. Mary McFate is an advocate of environmental causes and a prominent activist within the gun control movement. For more than a decade, she volunteered for various gun violence prevention organizations, serving on the boards of anti-gun outfits, helping state groups coordinate their activities, lobbying in Washington for gun control legislation, and regularly attending strategy and organizing meetings.

Mary Lou Sapone, by contrast, is a self-described “research consultant,” who for decades has covertly infiltrated citizens groups for private security firms…

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The dangers of methane emissions

Top of JC's Mind

I contributed the prompt “climate” for Linda’s Just Jot It January today. I actually haven’t been using the prompts other than as usual for Stream of Consciousness Saturdays, but figured I should use the one I suggested. 😉

I have written often about climate change, growing out of my commenting on the fracking battle. I have done some posts on these topics here on Top of JC’s Mind, although most of my writing has been in comment sections on articles on environmental topics.

As you may know, while we hear the most about atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, atmospheric methane has also been rising to record levels. This is especially worrisome because, over a twenty year timeframe, methane is about 86 times as potent in heat trapping potential as carbon dioxide. Given that humanity is facing a critical window to lower greenhouse gas levels to keep global warming under 2 degrees…

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“Not a Single Mention of Release of Political Prisoners or Human Rights Violations” – an Iranian’s Opinion on the Lift of Sanctions

Sweden and the Middle East Views

Today when the world celebrates the lifting of US sanctions against Iran, and CNN’s headline blasts out “Flight to Freedom”, on the previously imprisoned Americans that has been released as a part of the peace agreement, I wanted to have an Iranian’s point of view. A friend of mine gave his opinion, on the condition of anonymity.

Today, 17th of January 2016, Iranians woke up to their first day without sanctions. Whilst a lot of people will rejoice and feel relieved from an economical sense, pragmatically this just means Iran has gone back to 2006 when (the latest) sanctions were put in place. 

During the sanctions the wealthy, those with connections, those who succumbed to corruption found ways to bypass international laws and got richer. Of course as a consequence the country as a whole got poorer because a lot of oil and other resources were sold far below…

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Writing Routines and Rituals

davidjrogersftw

The main goal of all creative people is to be productive: to produce works. Their work schedule and environment are artist workingdesigned to facilitate production because production is their reason for being. Everything—all your education and training, habits, dreams and hopes, and all your routines and rituals are aimed at that one central goal: getting good work out; being able to produce. If a writer or artist is being productive she’s happy. If she’s not, she’s unhappy.

I rise fully awake, my mind sharp, at 4:00 A.M. Then I turn on music and putter around in the kitchen. I’m purposely delaying starting to work so ideas will start germinating, straightening themselves out, and working themselves to my consciousness. Waking or sleeping, night or day, conscious or unconscious, writers’ and artists’ minds continue without stop to produce ideas relevant to their work.

I have a bowl of Cheerios and make my wife’s…

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Supreme Court Deals Blow To Florida’s Death Sentencing System

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

Why do we kill peopleJuries, not judges, must decide whether ultimate penalty is justified.  I am opposed to the killing of humans, and that includes the government sanctioned death penalty.  Yesterday, Richard Wolf of USA Today reported that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that judges deciding on the death penalty rather than juries, is unconstitutional.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Florida’s system of letting judges, not juries, decide whether convicted criminals deserve the death penalty.

The 8-1 ruling is significant because Florida has about 400 prisoners on death row, second only to California — and unlike California, it conducts executions regularly. However, most of the state’s prisoners are not likely to be affected because their appeals have run out or their convictions were based on indisputable aggravating circumstances.

In Florida, judges can impose the death penalty even if the jury has not ruled unanimously or agreed on any aggravating circumstance. If the…

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Europe’s Dithering Compassion Ignites Fears Of Inability To Cope With Refugee Crisis In Croatia

Croatia, the War, and the Future

Refugees/migrants overwhelm Europe in 2015 and likely to continue in 2016Refugees/migrants overwhelm Europe
in 2015 and likely to continue in 2016

In the second half of 2015, the Eastern, the South-Eastern European and the Balkan countries caused an overwhelming number of headlines when it comes to migration. Hundreds of thousands of migrants/refugees from the Middle East made their way to the West through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, as well as Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia. All this fueled by the “welcome all, come to Germany” message trumpeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
For Croatia and all other countries in the East/South Europe region, regardless of whether an EU member state or not and given the evident rush of these migrants/refugees to reach their desired destination in Germany and the West of Europe, providing for a smooth and orderly passage was not an easy task by any stretch of imagination. The refugees were nevertheless assisted through in the direction of…

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