Tom Danehy: You have questions, Tom has answers with a few extra details you didn't ask for, but need (Tucson Weekly)
Q: Tom, you've written in the past that you grew up in poverty. Accordingly, do you give money to people standing on the medians at intersections? A: The answer to that is no, I almost never do. I know it sounds like a cliché, but many times I have offered to buy people something to eat or drink and they look at me like I have snot on my shirt (which, I suppose, is always a possibility). I almost always get turned down.
Robin McKie: Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away(The Guardian; from 2014)
Low-lying south Florida, at the front line of climate change in the US, will be swallowed as sea levels rise. Astonishingly, the population is growing, house prices are rising and building goes on. The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers.
Justin Peters: The Worst Super Bowl Ad of All Time (Slate)
It was made by the same company that did the best one.
Joanna Blythman: Cheap and easy food? Think about the true cost (The Guardian)
EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Iannou's new easyFoodstore will most likely be lauded by the government. But no society on earth can ultimately afford food this cheap.
Jack Monroe: Charging old people for falling down is an affront to human decency (The Guardian)
Cuts have forced local councils to save money, but making people pay to be helped off the ground is sinister and cruel.
Stuart Jeffries: 20 reasons to be cheerful in middle age (The Guardian)
20. Life is, thankfully, short. When you were young, there used to be a seemingly endless supply of time. Now, at your back, you hear time's winged chariot. You will never learn Mandarin; run a marathon; abseil down the Shard; bench your body weight; describe successfully the difference between Einstein's special and general theories of relativity; pass grade seven oboe; or be Madonna's toy boy. Don't pretend that's not a relief.
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"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
SOUNDS LIKE 'ISIS'.
DUMBER THAN THE CHIMP!
THE TEABAG CRISIS.
THE 'TEA PARTY' HAD A BALL!
FEEL THE BERN!
AND THE TEABAGGERS GO SLINKING FROM THE ROOM!
REPUBLICANS ARE INSANE!
"WELL, THE HYPHENS ARE ALL IN THEIR PROPER PLACES, ANYWAY."
"YOU'LL FIND IT IN THE EDITORIAL SECTION"
"QUILTS WITH A SENSE OF PLACE…"
A THREE POINTER FOR THE WIN AT THE BUZZER!
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and seasonal.
Joining BBC's 'Top Gear'
Former "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc will be joining the BBC's popular "Top Gear" program, presenting the revamped car show with Chris Evans, the British broadcaster said Thursday.
LeBlanc, who starred as Joey Tribbiani on the NBC sitcom "Friends," is the first non-British actor to host the BBC show in its 39-year history.
One of the globe's most popular programs, "Top Gear" has won a huge following with its mix of car tips, driving stunts and jokey banter.
The show's revamp became necessary after former host Jeremy Clarkson left the program amid a scandal. Clarkson was fired after he punched a producer during an off-set altercation. The two other hosts also left.
Viacom Inc's board of directors named Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman as executive chairman, replacing majority owner Sumner Redstone, overriding calls for an independent board chief from Redstone's daughter, who voted against Dauman.
Viacom announced on Thursday that the ailing 92-year-old Redstone was becoming chairman emeritus, a day after CBS Corp said Redstone, also the CBS majority owner, was stepping down as executive chairman and being replaced by CEO Leslie Moonves.
Thursday's decision puts Viacom firmly in the hands of Dauman, a longtime associate of Sumner Redstone. His daughter, Shari, said in a statement she wanted someone who was not a member of her father's trust to run Viacom, which would have excluded Dauman.
Dauman and Moonves are natural rivals as leaders of the two halves of the empire that Redstone separated 10 years ago. After Redstone's eventual death, analysts expect several scenarios, such as selling the companies in pieces, leaving them as they are, or reuniting them, which could pit the executives against one another.
Quits Paris Ballet
Star choreographer Benjamin Millepied said Thursday he was ending his short tenure at the Paris Opera Ballet, after lambasting the ensemble as stuck in the past.
In just over a year at the helm, the French former dancer -- husband of Hollywood actress Natalie Portman -- faced stiff resistance to his plans to radically reform the institution, a bastion of classical ballet tradition.
"I have decided to end my time as director of dance," he said in a statement, adding that he wanted to "concentrate 100 percent on creating" rather than on administration.
His shock departure came only a day before the world premiere of his latest work at the ballet, ironically titled "The Night Ends".
Although Millepied, 38, insisted that "the ties that bind me to this beautiful institution mean that I will always be at its side", his acrimonious exit is a major blow.
Users Only 3.57 Degrees Apart
The average pair of Facebook users has just 3.57 degrees of separation between them, the social media network said Thursday in a new study.
In the United States, that number is more like 3.46 degrees.
The social media network, which counts 1.59 billion users around the world, is celebrating its 12th birthday Thursday.
Jail Privileges Cut
Marion "Suge" Knight
Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight's access to visitors and phone calls have been completely cut off at the request of sheriff's investigators, court records shows.
Court records show Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan on Friday cut Knight's access to phone calls and non-attorney visitors. The order was issued at the request of a sheriff's detective investigating Knight's murder case, in which he is charged with running over two men, killing one, outside a Compton burger stand in January 2015.
Details about what prompted the order to restrict Knight's access to visitors are under seal. Knight's attorney, Thaddeus Culpepper, did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
The order came a week after Knight reshuffled his legal team for the fifth time, dropping criminal defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau and enlisting the services of former prosecutor Stephen Schwartz. No details for the change have been given in open court. Culpepper was designated lead counsel on the case at the time.
Marion "Suge" Knight
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been subject to 'arbitrary detention' during the 3-1/2 years he has spent in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid a rape investigation in Sweden, a U.N. panel will rule on Friday.
Assange, who enraged the United States by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, appealed to the panel saying he was a political refugee whose rights had been infringed by being unable to take up asylum in Ecuador.
The former computer hacker denies allegations of a 2010 rape in Sweden, saying the charge is a ploy that would eventually take him to the United States where a criminal investigation into the activities of WikiLeaks is still open.
Britain said it had never arbitrarily detained Assange and that the Australian had voluntarily avoided arrest by jumping bail to flee to the embassy.
But the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled in Assange's favor, Sweden said.
The Supreme Court's recent decision to step into a relatively unimportant case involving Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming system revealed that Chief Justice John Roberts has sold between $250,000 and $500,000 in Microsoft stock in the past year.
Federal judges violate the law if they take part in a case involving a company they own shares in, although Roberts declined through a court spokeswoman to comment on his situation.
His decision, though, raises this question: If the chief justice can unload one of his two largest stock holdings (Time-Warner is the other), why does any justice continue to own individual companies' stock, knowing that doing so sometimes will force him out of a case?
"We're not talking about grandpa's stock in the family business where a justice might have some sentimental reason for holding onto the shares. These are major corporations who regularly come before the court," said Arthur Hellman, who specializes in judicial ethics at the University of Pittsburgh.
The chief justice's sale of his Microsoft stock was the largest single stock sale by anyone on the court in at least the 10-plus years he has been there.
Emails Show Officials Knew
Emails between high-ranking Michigan state officials show they knew about an uptick in Legionnaires' disease and it could be linked to problems with Flint water long before Governor Rick Snyder (R-Environmental Racist) said he got information on the outbreak.
A spokesman for Snyder rejected the report by the liberal group Progress Michigan on Thursday. Emails obtained by the group show Snyder's principal aide, Harvey Hollins, was made aware of the outbreak and a possible link to the use of Flint River water last March.
Snyder said in January he had just learned about the rise in Legionnaires cases.
The group cited an email from March 13, 2015, that showed Hollins and Dan Wyant, the former head of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), were aware of the increase in Legionnaires' disease in Genesee County, where Flint is located, and that a county health official was attributing the cases to the Flint River.
Therapists Find Safe Haven In Israel
A leading American Jewish group promoting therapy it said could turn gays to heterosexuals was ordered shut in December by a New Jersey court, amid growing efforts in the U.S. to curb the generally discredited practice. But therapists with ties to the shuttered group say they have found a haven for their work in Israel.
Israel's Health Ministry advises against so-called "gay conversion" or "reparative" therapy, calling it scientifically dubious and potentially dangerous, but no law limits it. In Israel, practitioners say their services are in demand, mostly by Orthodox Jewish men trying to reduce their same-sex attractions so they can marry women and raise a traditional family according to their conservative religious values.
Clients also include Jewish teenagers from the U.S. and other countries who attend post-high school study programs at Orthodox seminaries in Israel. Half of all such students attend seminaries that require youth who admit to having homosexual feelings to see reparative therapy practitioners, according to the Yeshiva Inclusion Project, a group that counsels gay prospective students.
Proponents in Israel say therapy does not "convert" clients, but boosts self-esteem and masculinity, which they say can reduce homosexuality. In Israel, therapists say there is greater acceptance of their work than in the U.S.
Scientists scouring the fields of Folsom, California found a new kind of black tarantula which they have named after Johnny Cash, the American music legend who sang of the jailhouse blues.
The eight-legged creature named Aphonopelma johnnycashi is all black, the way Cash often dressed when he strummed his guitar and sang songs like "The Man in Black" and "Folsom Prison Blues" in his bass-baritone voice.
During a decade-long hunt, they collected nearly 3,000 specimens in multiple states.
They found that the Johnny Cash spider was widespread, but had long been considered as another species, known as A. iodius.
Given the deep black color of the males, combined with the location of the spider in Folsom, California -- home to a state penitentiary where Cash performed for inmates in 1968 -- "the name popped into my head. It just fit perfectly," Hamilton said.
88-Year-Old Note Found
A mason working on a Kansas university building has found an 88-year-old handwritten note that gives a glimpse into the lives of laborers in 1928.
The Manhattan Mercury reports that the mason found the note in a tobacco can he encountered in December while restoring and replacing stones at Kansas State University's East Memorial Stadium in Manhattan, nearly 60 miles west of Topeka.
A Facebook post from the Kansas State Historical Preservation Office says the five authors dated the note Feb. 2, 1928, and wrote that they hope the letter is found someday in the future, perhaps after they've died. The letter is signed with the names C.K. Bell, Geo H. Bell, W. Sowell, Jim Kelley and Ray Disney.
The nearly 100-word message explains that masons made $10 per day and that laborers made $3.20 per day. It also expresses hope that "things will be better" for the working man in the future.
Kansas State project manager Jeremy Sharp says that the stadium was built in 1922, and the eastern wall was constructed in 1928.
On The Menu?
When members of the Explorers Club gathered for their lavish annual dinner in New York City in 1951, one account said they feasted on meat from a prehistoric wooly mammoth that had been preserved in a glacier.
The banquet menu said the long-extinct mystery meat was actually giant sloth.
But Yale researchers using DNA analysis on surviving bits of the meat have now reached what could be the final word on the story: Neither is true.
The meat that was served was nothing more than modern-day sea turtle.
The event appears to have similarities to a fictional account in the 1990 Matthew Broderick film, "The Freshman," in which high rollers paid $1 million for the privilege of eating meat from endangered species, only to be served Hawaiian tigerfish mixed with smoked turkey.
99 Million Year Old Fossil
If you think an erection lasting more than 4 hours is a problem, try one lasting more than 99 million years.
That's how long the penis of a newly discovered arachnid fossil has been standing at attention. The harvestman, a spider relative also known as a daddy longlegs, was encased in amber during the Cretaceous in what is now
Myanmar Burma. Its distinctive penis, with a heart-shaped tip and a bit of a twist at the end, was erect at the time.
"It was very surprising to see the genitals, as they are usually tucked away inside the harvestman's body," said Jason Dunlop, the curator of the arachnid, millipede and centipede collections at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, who reported the discovery online Jan. 28 in the journal The Science of Nature.
The new harvestman specimen belongs to an ancient species called Halitherses grimaldii. A private collector sent it to Dunlop and his colleagues. Harvestman fossils are rare - only 38 have ever been found, the researchers wrote in their new paper - but harvestman genitals are even more elusive. This is the first amber specimen visibly preserving the structure of the penis, Dunlop told Live Science in an email.
"These penis details (shape, form of the tip, etc.) are very important for saying where this amber species fits in the harvestman family tree," he said. "In fact, we couldn't find an exact match in terms of penis shape with any living species."
Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums and made hits like "September," "Shining Star" and "Boogie Wonderland," died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, his brother Verdine said.
White, who was 74, suffered from Parkinson's Disease and had retreated from the public even as the band he founded kept performing.
"My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep," Verdine White, also a member of the band, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes."
Earth, Wind & Fire, a nine-piece band centered featuring the two White brothers, singer Philip Bailey and the distinctive horn section, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. The band's most successful period started with the 1975 album "That's The Way of The World" and continued through the rest of the decade. Other hits included "Serpentine Fire," "That's the Way of the World" and a cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life."
White publicly revealed he had Parkinson's at the time of the band's Hall of Fame induction, but he had shown symptoms of the neurological disease back in the 1980s. He stopped touring with the band in 1995 because of weariness from the road combined with his health problems.
A former session drummer, White founded the band Salty Peppers in the Chicago area in the late 1960s and had some modest success in the Midwest. After relocating to Los Angeles and ditching all of the band members except Verdine, he renamed the outfit Earth, Wind & Fire after the three elements in his astrological chart.
The band's early sound was jazzy, but evolved into an exuberant, horn-driven mix of jazz, funk, gospel and Big Band music. Their appeal wasn't just on records but on stage, their concerts a whirl of dancing, fog machines, multi-colored lights and glittery costumes. Earth, Wind & Fire performed everywhere from the Super Bowl to the White House.
Maurice White also had a substantial side career producing other artists, including Barbra Streisand and Cher. In the 1970s, he co-wrote and co-produced the Emotions' No. 1 hit "Best of My Love."
White was born in Memphis in 1941, the son of a doctor and grandson of a New Orleans piano player. He showed musical gifts at an early age, studying at the Chicago Conservancy. During the 1960s, he backed Muddy Waters, the Impressions and others and worked as a session drummer in Chicago.
Joe Alaskey, who voiced such Looney Tunes characters as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, has died. He was 63.
Alaskey was one of the successors to Mel Blanc on the long-running Looney Tunes cartoons. In addition to Bugs and Daffy, he voiced Sylvester and Tweety as well as other animated characters including Plucky Duck on Tiny Toon Adventures and Grandpa Lou Pickles on Rugrats.
He won an Emmy for his Daffy Duck voice work and a Daytime Emmy Award for voicing the title role on Duck Dodgers, and he was nominated for an Annie Award for Looney Tunes: Back in Action for his Daffy Duck.
Alaskey also provided the voices of President Nixon in 1994's Forrest Gump and Stinkie in 1995's Casper and narrated Investigation Discovery's Murder Comes to Town, which premiered in 2014. He recorded his final episode on Jan. 29, and it will air as the series' season finale March 14, a Discovery publicist said.
Alaskey also played Beano Froelich on the 1987-91 sitcom Out of This World opposite Burt Reynolds.
Joseph Francis Alaskey III was born April 17, 1952, in Troy, N.Y. He graduated from La Salle Institute and attended Siena College. After moving to Los Angeles, he found steady work as a comedian, impressionist and actor.
A nostalgic, Alaskey had a passion for classic TV and radio shows, his family said, and he also was an avid comic book collector.
In addition to his voice and acting work, Alaskey also was a writer: His memoir, That's Still Not All Folks!!, was released in 2009 and he recently released a horror novel, Frater Dementis, and a collection of short stories, Queasy Street: Volume One - Eleven Tales of Fantasy. Alaskey's family said that more of his work will continue to be released.